New Zealand-born jeweller Michael Hill has recorded a group sales lift of 2% for the first 19 weeks of FY24 on the prior year, and up 26% on FY22.

For the core Michael Hill brand, managing director and CEO Daniel Bracken confirmed the brand’s sales are down on the record start to FY23.

“However [sales] are up 13% on FY22 and up 15% on pre-pandemic trade in FY19,” Bracken said.

The group’s gross margin continues to be under pressure with sustained elevated diamond and gold pricing.  In mid-October, the Australian dollar gold price briefly hit $3,130 an ounce as then-reported by Stockhead - an all-time record high.

At the end of last week, ABC Bullion reported that gold prices eased by 2%, but noted it is still trading above $3,000 per ounce. The ease was driven by the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) recent cash rate hike to 4.35%.

“The pullback and a period of consolidation for gold was to be expected given the spike that we saw after the commencement of hostilities in the Middle East, with a forward-looking view suggesting there is a good chance gold and other precious metals will continue to lead the way asset class wise,” ABC Bullion reported.

“While that might seem a bold statement given it is already nudging all-time highs, there are indicators suggesting gold is going to rally from here.”

Dampened consumer confidence has also resulted in greater promotional activity across all retail categories and markets, according to Michael Hill.

Bracken said November trade is encouraging, driven by its new Christmas campaign launch at the start of the month. The Brilliance by Michael Hill loyalty program, which has over 2.1 million members, is expected to be a key channel for sales activity over Christmas.

“We have seen transactional sales data from multiple external sources that demonstrates that both the Michael Hill brand and Bevilles continue to take market share in a challenging retail environment," Bracken said.

“Earlier this year the company undertook a comprehensive product range review, enabling the largest-ever injection of newness in readiness for our key Christmas trading period."

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