SUPER RETAIL GROUP PROFIT UP 40 PER CENT

SUPER RETAIL GROUP PROFIT UP 40 PER CENT

SUPER Retail Group (ASX:SUL) has announced a 40 per cent increase in net profit after tax to $34.9 million for the six months to December 31, 2011.

Managing director Peter Birtles (pictured) describes the first half of fiscal 2012 as a period of ‘significant achievement’.

“We have maintained consistent performance through strong and not as strong retail conditions. In the first six weeks of the first-half, we maintained sales growth of 5 per cent at our biggest stores, Super Cheap Auto (SCA) and Boating Camping Fishing,” he says.

Birtles hopes to maintain sales growth at 4 to 5 per cent, revealing plans to open five new SCA stores and a further 25 group-wide in the next 12 months.

“We plan to continue to grow our store network, opening four new auto and cycle stores, six new leisure stores and two new sports stores during the second half (of FY12),” he says.

Overall earnings before interest and tax rose 49 per cent to $61.6 million, while earnings per share were up 20 per cent to 22 cents.

Gross margins decreased by 0.5 per cent due to the reintroduction of international brands to the Ray’s Outdoors business, but this has not discouraged Birtles.

“There has (still) been significant improvement in gross margins. All four businesses have good, strong growth margins due to better product range development, branding, supply chain efficiencies and trading terms,” he says.

The board declared a fully franked interim dividend of 13 cents a share to be paid on April 3, representing a 13 per cent increase on the previous period.

Closing net debt rose 28 per cent to $339.3 million since June 2011 due to $296 million in new acquisition finance required for the takeover of Rebel Sport and Amart All Sports.

Super Retail shares rose slightly to $6.69 per unit.

Read more on Super Retail Group in the annual Brisbane Top Companies edition of Brisbane Business News – out in March at a newsagent near you.

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