Michael Hill's Brilliance loyalty program has seen a significant 80.9% lift from June 2020, with the membership base now exceeding 260,000. 

Releasing a first quarter FY21 trading update, the business also witnessed the importance of its branded collections, with this segment representing 43.3% of total product sales for the quarter compared to 37.9% in Q1 FY20. 

Digital sales continued to boom for the jeweller, with online sales up 129% compared to the previous period, with digital initiatives delivering increased sales and margin across all markets and providing a favourable impact on group margin mix.

For the quarter, digital channels represented 5.3% of total sales.

Speaking on the results, CEO Daniel Bracken said that the business is pleased with the results from the first quarter. 

"I am particularly pleased with our first quarter results from both a sales and margin perspective.

"Although experiencing double digit foot traffic decline at a store level, we achieved a significant lift in same store sales, largely attributable to a number of key initiatives delivering material improvements in conversion and average transaction value (ATV).

"As previously reported, our emphasis has shifted from a focus on top line sales and market share recovery, to a balance of both margin and sales growth, underpinned by our strategic initiatives.

"It is encouraging to see so many of these strategies now flowing through to our results," he said. 

Michael Hill reported that same store sales for the quarter were up 7.3% to $116.7 million compared to Q1 FY20, while margin growth in all markets and channels was 100 to 200 bps for the quarter compared to Q1 FY20. 

However, due to the sustained closure of 44 stores due to COVID as well as the deliberate reduction of 15 underperforming stores, Michael Hill reported that all store sales were down by 3.6% for the period. 

Of the business' 154 stores, 126 were trading at the end of Q1 FY21. 

"Undoubtedly, the business has been and will continue to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with uncontrollable impacts on our store network, as seen in Melbourne and Auckland, and ongoing lower foot traffic," Bracken said. 

"To navigate the impacts of the pandemic, the Company has put in place a number of measures - strong health and safety protocols, accelerating virtual selling and try-ons and rolling out multiple digital initiatives.

"I would like to make special mention of our teams in Auckland and especially Melbourne, who have endured sustained impacts of the pandemic, affecting the well-being of our team members and their families.

"To that end, I am particularly proud that Michael Hill was able to deliver on our values in supporting its impacted team members during these challenging times," he said. 

Michael Hill's Australian same store sales were up by 12.5% to $64.2 million for the period. 

Bracken added that the business is well positioned to enter Christmas trading. 

"As highlighted in our year end presentation, we continue to focus on new and exciting opportunities that will gather pace through the coming quarter and over the balance of the year.

"The recent deployment of our cloud enabled ERP platform provides the foundation for growth with the delivery of digital, marketplace and omni-channel initiatives.

"A continued disciplined fiscal mindset has seen a cost conscious culture now truly embedded as a key pillar of business performance.

"The Company is well-positioned as we enter our all-important Christmas trading period with a healthy balance sheet and reinvigorated teams in all markets.

"A well-managed supply chain, an exciting merchandise offer, and our best ever Christmas marketing campaign provide confidence that we can maintain strong momentum across the most significant quarter of the year," he said. 


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