New Super Retail Group CEO to start early after earnings hike

New Super Retail Group CEO to start early after earnings hike

Super Retail Group (ASX: SUL) has sped up its CEO transition and announced a 6 per cent lift in sales to $1.4 billion for the first half, with improved profitability across its auto, sport and outdoor divisions. 

The market has responded positively to the news this morning, undeterred by a company review that found retail managers had been underpaid with $32 million set aside for back payments. 

Current outdoor retailing managing director Anthony Heraghty (right) will also take the reigns as CEO earlier than expected with his start date moved forward from 31 March to 20 February.

Heraghty will be replacing Peter Birtles (above left), who highlighted continued benefits from the integration of the Amart Sports business with Rebel, and a successful strategy to raise inventories for boosting the group's online presence.

Overall, the provisional results show EBITDA was up 11.3 per cent year-on-year at $166.2 million.

"We are pleased to report a solid trading performance for the first half of the 2019 financial year that reflects the continued positive performance of Supercheap Auto and Rebel and with a strong contribution from the recently acquired Macpac business," says Birtles. 

"The 39.6% growth in EBIT in the Outdoor segment included the $8.7 million contribution from Macpac, which was acquired on 31 March 2018, and reduced losses in the Rays business."

In the next three months the company expects to convert nine Rays stores into Macpac Adventure Hub outlets.

Auto retailing is still the strongest segment contributing $530.8 million, representing 2.7 per cent growth and a like-for-like rise of 1.8 per cent.

However, Super's sports business Rebel appears to be vying for the top spot with sales up 4 per cent to $523.9 million, backed up by high like-for-like growth as well at 3.2 per cent.

Birtles said growth was being driven by customers shopping through digital channels, which had been leveraged through re-platforming all of the company's websites. 

"Online sales, as a proportion of overall sales, increased in all businesses and for Rebel now represents 11 per cent of overall sales," he said.

"We have been able to fully fund an increase in inventory levels to deliver higher in stock position through the key Christmas and New Year trading period.

"Higher stock availability is increasingly important as more customers use digital channels to shop."

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