A record sales and earnings result in FY21 was reported today by Super Retail Group (ASX: SUL), driven by "unprecedented" demand for lifestyle and leisure retail.
The company, which owns popular retail brands Supercheap Auto, Rebel, Macpac and BCF, doubled profits as a result of bumper demand, with normalised NPAT (net profit after tax) hitting $306.8 million for the year.
In total, group sales rose by 22 per cent on the prior corresponding period to $3.45 billion, and online sales grew to $415.6 million - up 43 per cent.
"Successful omni-retail execution, investment in our supply chain and focus on inventory management have been key in meeting elevated volumes of demand in both our in-store and online channels," Super Retail Group managing director and CEO Anthony Heraghty said.
"In particular, the group's omni-retail business strategy and digital capability are providing the flexibility to pivot to online channels to meet shifts in consumer behaviour during COVID-19 lockdowns."
While all of the company's brands saw sales growth of more than 15 per cent during the period, the biggest winner was Super Retail's outdoor adventure brand BCF.
Total sales at BCF increased by 49.1 per cent to $797.7 million, while online sales nearly doubled to hit $86 million (11 per cent of total sales).
The company says sales growth reflects elevated levels of domestic tourism and leisure activity, with caravan, 4WD, camp shelter & bedding, barbeque, trailer, water sports, footwear and apparel among the fastest growing sub-categories.
The importance of Super Retail's online channel was pronounced in the financial year, with the segment seeing a 43 per cent increase in total sales, now representing 12 per cent of group sales. Click & collect represented nearly half of all $415.6 million of online sales.
"The importance of the group's investment in its digital capability was underscored by the impact of intermittent COVID-19 lockdowns on store trading and foot traffic," Super Retail Group said.
"The group's omni-retail capability enabled it to pivot to online channels to meet consumer demand through both click & collect and home delivery.
"The group is continuing to develop and refine the application of artificial intelligence (AI) to support digital sales, with more than 30 per cent of online sales supported by analytically driven data and insights."
Despite the strong results, at the start of the new financial year Super Retail Group says COVID-19 lockdowns in July and August have already "adversely impacted" FY22 trading.
The silver lining of that has been increased traffic in its online stores, with affected regions seeing record online sales.
"In FY22 year to date, online sales have grown by 62 per cent with click & collect sales growing by 137 per cent," Super Retail Group said.
The company's trading outlook remains uncertain given risk of intermittent lockdowns and travel restrictions due to COVID-19.
"Notwithstanding current COVID-19 disruptions, our omni-retail business model is performing well with record online sales in the month of July," CEO Heraghty said.
"The flexibility we have to meet demand through in-store and online channels and the strength of our balance sheet means we can continue to confidently pursue a number of attractive organic growth opportunities, which are integral to the execution of our corporate strategy."
Get our daily business news
Sign up to our free email news updates.