Investors have rallied around retail stalwart Myer (ASX: MYR) following the release of its half year results which detailed a healthy increase in profits and ushered in the reinstatement of dividends to shareholders.
The half yearly dividend of 1.5 cents represents the first disbursement since the 2017 financial year, and comes alongside the company showing signs of a turnaround following years of sales languishing in the doldrums.
Myer says it saw total sales growth of 8.5 per cent to $1.52 billion in the six months to 29 December 2021, while net cash rose by $16 million to $217 million.
At $32.3 million, the half’s net profit after tax was 55.2 per cent higher than the prior year adjusted for the net JobKeeper benefit the retailer received of $22 million in 1H21. Were the benefit accounted for, profit fell by 25 per cent.
Group online sales continue to grow for Myer, up 47.5 per cent to $424.1 million and now represent 27.9 per cent of total sales.
“The half year results we have announced today demonstrate the strength and resilience of the business providing continued momentum for future growth,” said John King, who was appointed as Myer CEO in 2018 to help turn the retailer around.
“The combination of our online platform and store network performed well in navigating the challenges faced during the period including disruptions caused by government-mandated lockdowns to mid-October, the emergence of Omicron in late December, and the mitigation of major supply chain disruption and staffing availability in early 2022.
“Myer will pay a dividend for the first time in four years, demonstrating our confidence in the momentum being built as we move into the second half, with a return to sales growth in the first five weeks of second half with trade up 15.2 per cent and a strong platform of future initiatives that are yet to be delivered as part of the Customer First Plan.”
Myer said it achieved total sales growth despite 23 per cent of in-store trading days impacted by government-mandated COVID-19 lockdowns.
The retailer also says growth in its online segment means Myer is well on its way to achieving $1 billion in annual e-commerce sales in the “near term”.
“Our online business has grown nearly fourfold in the past four years and is now one of the biggest online retail businesses in the country,” CEO King said.
“In key categories, our growth is significantly outpacing competitors, both multichannel retailers and online pure plays.”
The results come as Myer creeps closer to closing down its Blacktown, NSW store - the fifth shuttering in three years.
The company plans to cease trading at Myer Blacktown on Sunday, 3 April this year, and has committed to "supporting all impacted team members through a period of consultation" with plans to redeploy as many as possible.
At the time of writing, shares in Myer are up nearly 20 per cent to $0.49 per share - the highest they’ve been in 2022 but still miles off the nearly $4 per share the company used to trade at more than a decade ago.
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