Christmas lifts Michael Hill 4.4% in same store sales

Jewellery retailer Michael Hill International (NZX: MHI) has reported a 4.4% lift in same store sales to $221.2 million for the half year to the end of December.

Chairman Michael Hill said today that improved trading conditions during the key Christmas trading period had helped lift the same store figures, which had been flat at the end of the first quarter.

All countries had improved same store trading performance from the first quarter, Mr Hill said.

In North America, where retail conditions remained difficult, some encouraging trends were seen emerging in the second quarter.

In Australia same store sales for the six months lifted 6.2% to $153.3 million, although in local currency terms were up 3.6% to $A124.4 million.

In New Zealand, same store sales were up 5.4% to $51.7 million, while in Canada they fell 12.6% to $16.2 million; in Canadian dollars, sales were down 4.9% to $C12.5 million.

All store sales were up 8.8% in Australia to $163.4 million, or up 6% in the local currency to $A132.6 million. In New Zealand, the rise was 5.5% to $52.3 million, in Canada all store sales were up 7% to $21.1 million, or in Canadian dollars up 16.6% to $C16.3 million.

In the US, all store sales lifted 7% to $7.5 million, or in US dollar terms were up 30.9% to $US5.4 million.

Michael Hill shares closed at 66c yesterday, having ranged between 77c and 45c in the past year, and rose more than 10% to close at 73c today.

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