JB Hi-Fi bucks gloomy market conditions

JB Hi-Fi bucks gloomy market conditions

The Victoria-headquartered company posted a net profit of $170.6 million for the six months to Dec. 31

Credit: JB Hi-Fi

Electronics retailer JB Hi-Fi has bucked broader gloomy sales conditions to report a higher first-half profit and raised its annual earnings forecast, sending shares to a record high.

The results come at a time when damages from months-long bushfires are certain to hit Australian corporate earnings amid worries over the impact of the coronavirus epidemic in China.

Goldman Sachs analysts had expected JB Hi-Fi to benefit from higher air purifier sales as smoke from the bushfires shrouds big cities.

January sales were stable and the company did not see any impact from bushfires in the first weeks of the month, Group Chief Executive Officer Richard Murray said on a call with investors.

Its shares rose as much as 10.2 per cent to a record high of $44.19.

The Victoria-headquartered company posted a net profit of $170.6 million for the six months to Dec. 31, compared with $160.1 million a year earlier. Its revenues rose nearly 4 per cent to about $4 billion.

For the full year, it expects a total net profit after tax to be in the range of $265 million to $270 million, an increase of 6.1 per cent-8.1 per cent from a year ago.

JB Hi-Fi also raised its annual total sales outlook to $7.33 billion from $7.25 billion previously.

The company announced an interim dividend of 99 cents per share, up 8.8 per cent from the previous corresponding period.

Total sales at The Good Guys, the home appliances-focused chain it acquired in 2016, grew 1.5 per cent to $1.15 billion, with earnings before income tax margin rising 50 basis points to 4.4 per cent.

(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Renju Jose in Sydney; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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