Despite the loss of 7,396 store trading days during the first quarter of FY22, Michael Hill has reported strong overall results in a trading update. 

The business reported that same store sales in all markets were up 15.5% in the quarter, compared to Q1FY21. 

In Australia same store sales were up 9.4%, despite the fact that 71 of the brand's stores were temporarily closed for the majority of the quarter – totalling 150 stores closed at the period's end. 

With many Australian stores closed, Michael Hill's all store sales were down 24.9% in the market. 

However, the jewellery retailer's digital sales continued to grow during the period, up 58.2% compared to the same period last year, now making up 9.4% of sales. 

Michael Hill CEO Daniel Bracken said the business was pleased with the results it delivered in the challenging environment.

"I’m particularly pleased with our results, having delivered double digit same stores sales growth together with continued margin improvement for the quarter – marking our ninth quarter of positive same stores sales growth since FY19Q3.

"These results reaffirm our transformational agenda is enhancing all aspects of our business, broadening our omni-channel offering, elevating our brand and delivering growth.

"Our strategic initiatives – driving elevated margins, an intense focus on costs, and strong digital and physical sales, have all combined to lessen the negative impact on earnings from sustained store closures across Australia and New Zealand," he said. 

In Canada, where the brand's 86 stores were open and trading by early July, Michael Hill reported same store sales up 17.7% and all store sales up 18.8% for Q1FY22.

"Upon reopening, our Canadian business has been flying, delivering impressive sales and margin growth every week," Bracken added. 

"This demonstrates that as territories reopen, the business is ready to meet the strong consumer demand, with the right inventory, engaged team members and appropriate safety protocols in place.

"We are looking forward to the progressive reopening of our NSW, Victoria and Auckland stores, in readiness for the all- important trading period," he said. 

Michael Hill reported that in New Zealand a five-week lockdown resulted in a loss of 1,333 store trading days. 

As a result, Michael Hill reported same store sales were up 17.8% and all store sales were down 13.2% in New Zealand for Q1FY22.

During the period, Michael Hill continued its margin expansion strategies which underpinned margin growth of 100 to 200 bps in all markets and channels against Q1FY21.

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