Despite delivering record profits for FY21, Accent Group isn't immune to the impacts of extended lockdowns.
Alongside the release of its FY21 results yesterday, the business provided a trading update for the first seven weeks of FY22.
The lockdowns across New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and the ACT in July and August have impacted 55% of the group's store portfolio, affecting 350 stores.
With this in mind, Accent reported that like-for-like retail sales for the first seven weeks of FY22 (including digital) were down 16% compared to the prior year.
However, over the last three weeks digital sales have shown signs of recovery - with stores across NSW and Victoria still largely closed - up 66.7%.
Accent Group CEO Daniel Agostinelli said the business remains confident in its ability to bounce back once stores reopen.
"Our portfolio of world class owned and distributed brands, integrated digital capability and large store network are core assets of the group and position the company well for strong growth into the future.
"In the current environment our digital sales are growing strongly and we have confidence that when stores can re-open, we are well positioned to serve our customers and to continue to grow our position in the market," he said.
Meanwhile, the ongoing lockdowns have impacted the group EBIT, with the COVID related disruption experienced across July and August estimated to be at least $15 million compared to management expectations prior to the lockdowns.
"This is the result of both lost sales and the impact to gross margin of driving sales and ensuring that inventory levels are appropriately managed," Accent said.
"The Company has however implemented a range of inventory management and cost reduction initiatives," the business said.
Despite these challenges, Accent expects the impact to be temporary and that its business model, its 8.4 million contactable customers and its strong balance sheet will see it through.
Agostinelli said the business also has growth opportunities in its new acquisitions and international markets.
"The acquisition of Glue Store and progress underway building the Stylerunner and Exie brands, along with delivering a strong Australian presence in the active and youth apparel markets, also providing the opportunity for further international growth in New Zealand and other markets over the coming years.
"With our long-term objectives and incentives linked to driving at least 10% compound earning per share growth, Accent continues to be defined by retail innovation, strong cash conversion and the growing returns it delivers on shareholders' funds," he said.