Michael Hill sales continue to shine

Michael Hill’s local same store sales are continuing to climb in the second half of the financial year, with a 6.4% sales increase in its New Zealand stores over the past nine months.

The international jeweller unveiled its nine-month sales results today, with sales following the same trends seen when it released its interim figures in February.

In the latest figures, its Australian operations continue to lead the way, with a 7.4% increase in same store sales across the Tasman. The rise from $197.7 million to $212.5 million built on a 3.6% lift at the six-month mark.

The company’s 53 New Zealand stores have also performed strongly, up 6.4% to $73.2 million.

The North American market is still proving a tough retail battleground for the jeweller, with Canadian same store sales down by 13.2% to $22.5 million.

But this drop was reduced to 4.8% when measured in Canadian currency and sales across all stores in that country were up 5.4%.

Michael Hill’s relatively new United States business – where it has operated 17 stores since late 2008 – saw total sales stay reasonably steady, up a modest 1.5% to $11.1 million, with an increase of 28.2% when measured in US currency.

The company conceded that conditions “continued to be difficult” for the Canadian business, although it did point out that the decline each quarter this financial year has been better than the preceding quarter.

It added that it has experienced “some margin growth” over the past nine months as the impact of the global financial crisis started receding.

The stronger sales figures in recent months have had little impact on the company’s stock price (NZX:MHI), with shares in the jeweller hovering around the 70c mark since June last year.

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