Briscoe Group sales tick up in third quarter

Managing director Rod Duke said the strong jobs market bodes well for the future.

Briscoe Group said its third-quarter sales were higher on the year after a rebound in October and managing director Rod Duke said the strong jobs market and improving rural incomes bode well for the final quarter of the year. 

Revenue rose 2.7 percent to $129 million in the 13 weeks to Oct. 29 versus $125.6 million a year earlier and was also up 2.7 percent on a same-store basis, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. Homeware sales across the group rose 2.5 percent to $81 million while sporting goods sales rose 3.1 percent to $47.9 million. 

Duke, who owns more than three-quarters of the company, said Briscoe Group was "especially pleased" with the sales growth achieved during October after a "subdued" September on the back of the election, bad weather and a slowing housing market. He said the strong employment market, low rates of unemployment and strengthening rural incomes bode well for retailers heading into the Christmas period.

New Zealand's unemployment rate dropped to 4.6 percent in the three months ended Sept. 30 down from 4.8 percent in June and employment rose 2.2 percent in the quarter to 2.59 million and was 4.2 percent higher than a year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said in its household labour force survey yesterday. 

Rural incomes have strengthened on the back of an improving milk price and earlier today Fonterra Cooperative Group reiterated its forecast 2017/18 payout of $6.75 per kilogram of milk solids plus earnings per share in a range of 45-to-55 cents, making the forecast total available payout of $7.20 to $7.30, before retentions. The final cash payout was $6.52 for the 2016/17 season for a 100 percent share-backed farmer.

"We are certainly encouraged by the very strong sales growth experienced during October and gives us considerable confidence as we commence the crucial final quarter with sales and profit tracking ahead of last year as they have done for each of the previous two quarters," said Duke. 

Briscoe Group said unaudited sales for the 39 week period from Jan. 30 to Oct. 29 were $409.2 million, an increase of 3.9 percent on the $393.9 million reported for the first three quarters of last year.

Its shares last traded at $3.28 and have shed 19 percent this year.

(BusinessDesk)