JB Hi-Fi (JBH) is a chain of electrical stores, selling leading brands of hi-fi, speakers, televisions, DVDs, cameras, car sound, home theatre, computers, white goods, portable audio and a variety of music, games and movies.
The company has been able to grow its sales over the last 5 years in what can only be described as one of the most difficult trading conditions for retailers in over 20 years.
JBH’s strategies for growth are simple: increase the number of stores, increase sales, and through that, increase profit. JBH’s expansion is not only in the Australian market, but also in New Zealand. Since entering the New Zealand market in early 2007, it has opened 13 stores.
Margin growth and consumer optimism
JBH’s 1H13 results impressed on several fronts, with sales revenue reaching $1.3 billion, 3.1% higher than the 1H12 result. Its net profit climbed to $82.1 million, a 3% improvement compared to the prior corresponding half.
JBH’s most surprising result was its gross margin, which increased by 28 basis points. This was a very impressive result considering that the gross margin of its competitor, Harvey Norman, fell by 260 basis points over the same period.
We think that the operating environment for retailers is looking more optimistic, with the Westpac Consumer Sentiment Index returning to a reading of over 100 in the last survey.
In its latest reading, the consumer sentiment index settled at 102.2 in June, 4.7% higher compared to the prior month’s reading.
Sales and profit upgrade
Last month JBH announced an update to its previous sales and net profit after tax (NPAT) guidance for FY13.
The company now expects sales in FY13 to be around $3.3 billion and NPAT to be within the range of $112.0 million to $116.0 million, a 7% to 11% increase in NPAT on the prior year.
The previous FY13 guidance was for sales circa $3.25 billion and NPAT within the range of $108.0 million to $112.0 million.
JBH said the upgrade has been driven by stronger than expected sales in the second half of FY13.
Specifically the company said sales growth in Australian and New Zealand for the four months ended 30 April 2013 was 10.3% and comparable store sales growth was 3.0%.
While the opening of 13 new stores in FY13 drove much of JBH’s impressive sales growth, comparable sales growth was still solid.
JBH’s 3% comparable stores sales growth is running at a much higher level than fellow retailers David Jones who saw a 3.4% decline in comparable stores sales in the recent quarter and Myer who only saw a 0.4% rise.
The other factor we see helping JBH is the lower Australian dollar. We think this over the long-term will see consumers turn back to retail stores as the online market becomes relatively more expensive. Overall, we see continued strength for JBH’s share price to be driven by strong sales growth and solid margins.