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Briscoe says annual profit rose at least 9% after strong 4Qu sales

Briscoe Group [NZX: BGR], the homeware and sporting goods chain, expects its annual profit to rise by at least 9 percent after "particularly strong" Christmas sales and an overall steady fourth quarter.

Net profit will exceed $33 million in the 52 weeks ended Jan. 26 from $30.5 million a year earlier, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. It had previously said it expected to exceed last year's earnings.

Fourth quarter sales were up 8.1 percent on the same quarter the previous year, totalling $162.7 million. Homewares made up the majority of the group's sales, rising 7.3 percent to $111.9 million, while sporting goods sales rose about 10 percent to make up the remaining $50.7 million. Annual sales rose 6.8 percent to $483.6 million, with the group's homewares' sales increasing 6.4 percent and sporting goods sales up 7.7 percent.

Managing director Rod Duke said performance in the final quarter had been driven by "aggressive promotional activity" and strong pre and post-Christmas sales had boosted fourth quarter profits.

The company also reported a near 100 percent lift in online sales over the past 12 months, with "no adverse impact on in-store sales".

"We are pleased with the growth we are generating in online sales across all three trading brands and especially with the significant lifts achieved during the fourth quarter," Duke said. "There is clearly considerable potential for strong on-going growth in our online sales for the foreseeable future."

On a same store basis fourth quarter sales increased 7.2 percent compared to the same quarter a year earlier. Fourth quarter homeware sales increased 6.2 percent, and sporting goods sales rose 9.5 percent ahead of the same quarter a year earlier.

Shares in the retailer were unchanged at $2.37, and have declined 5.2 percent over the past 52 weeks.

The company expects to report its full year audited results on March 6.

(BusinessDesk)

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