Online sales boost Briscoe Group profit

Briscoe Group has confirmed another record beating annual net profit - of $30.5 million, partly due to growing online sales.

The result was up almost 11 per cent year-on-year and on the back of a 3.3 per cent rise in sales to $452.7m.

The retailer, which owns the Briscoes and Living and Giving homeware and Rebel Sport stores, said same-store sales for the year ending January 27 lifted 2.6 per cent.

Managing director Rod Duke said it had reported strong profit growth for the past three years despite the retail market remaining extremely competitive.

The results reflected a range of initiatives by the group, including improved inventory management, cost control and expansion of its online operations.

Online sales across all three brands had grown significantly during the year.

"Our websites are also having a strongly positive impact on in-store sales as increasing numbers of customers research online ahead of making purchases," Duke said.

Rebel's result was "extremely satisfying", he said, given the sales boost it received in 2011 from the Rugby World Cup.

Same-store sales at Rebel rose 0.5 per cent year-on-year - after lifting 9.3 per cent in 2011.

Same-store homeware sales rose 3.6 per cent.

The group increased gross profit margin from 39.52 per cent to 40.01 per cent, thanks to inventory management, a new sales and service programme and the strong New Zealand dollar.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation jumped nearly 12 per cent to $41m.

Duke said it was not counting on any significant changes this year to the retail environment, but it was pleased with the start it had made to the financial year.

The group will pay a final dividend of seven cents per share.

It signalled the result last month, saying a record annual net profit of $30 million-plus was on the cards, despite a "very bloody ordinary" start to December.

Briscoe Group shares were up 1.7 per cent in early trading, to $2.34.