Australia Markets close in 2 hrs 17 mins

JB Hi-Fi lifts payout on Christmas cheer

Steven Deare
JB Hi-Fi has lifted profit 6.55 per cent for the half year, and will pay an increased dividend

JB Hi-Fi's Christmas has proven music to investors' ears, with strong summer sales and online growth helping the electronics retailer shake sector-wide softness and post a record first-half profit.

The retailer's 6.55 per cent in crease in net profit to a new record $170.6 million comes as it again boosts its payout to shareholders, with the firm's sales figures for the six months to December 31 beating expectations.

JB Hi-Fi reported revenue just shy of $4 billion for the period - up 3.9 per cent on a year ago - with comparable sales growth at its major Australian store segment hitting 4.4 per cent.

The market had tipped total sales growth of 3.4 per cent.

Shareholders will receive a dividend of 99 cents per share, fully franked, up from 91 cents a year ago.

Chief executive Richard Murray on Monday singled out the company's performance in the lead up to - and during - the festive season, while announcing JB Hi-Fi had also made a strong start to January.

"We are pleased to deliver positive sales and strong earnings growth in the first half of FY20, with sales improving throughout the half and culminating in a strong Christmas quarter," Mr Murray said.

JB Hi-Fi's shares were trading $4.92, or 12.27 per cent, higher at $45.02 at 1520 AEDT, making the company the best performer in the ASX/200.

A number of local retailers have felt the heat over the past couple of years as household consumption sags amid ongoing wage stagnation.

But Mr Murray said he was pleased with his firm's sales momentum in Australia, even though it had noticed growth in low margin categories and a bias in customer purchasing towards key promotional periods.

January sales at JB Hi-Fi Australia grew by 6.5 per cent, more than double the 3.0 per cent recorded a year ago, while comparable sales growth of 6.0 per cent has easily trumped 1.5 per cent in January 2019.

JB Hi-Fi New Zealand has, however, had a softer run, with a 1.6 per cent decline in total sales during the first month of the year, and a 1.6 per cent decline in comparative sales.

JB Hi-Fi's sister business - whitegoods and electronics chain The Good Guys - recorded first-half comparable sales growth of 0.6 per cent for a gross profit of $237.6 million.

The segment had previously struggled to lift sales figures.

JB Hi-Fi said The Good Guys stores performed well in sales of communications products, which Mr Murray said was proof the two served different customers.

Total sales growth for The Good Guys in January was 1.4 per cent - down from 1.8 per cent a year ago - but comparable January sales growth has improved to 1.4 per cent, compared to 0.3 per cent last year.

In its earnings announcement on Monday, the JB Hi-Fi also moved to downplay the potential impacts of the coronavirus outbreak on the firm's supply chain.

Many electronics products are made in China, where businesses face labour and supply challenges from the disease - which has killed more than 900 people.

Mr Murray said he was comfortable with reports from suppliers and most manufacturers had a stockpile of components.

For example, JB Hi-Fi is soon to receive new model TVs from China.

"We haven't had any heads-up from the TV guys that there are issues," Mr Murray said.

Meanwhile, Greg Richards has announced he will retire as the company's chairman and non-executive director on June 30.

Board member Stephen Goddard will replace him as chairman.

JB HI-FI's HALF-YEAR FIGURES

* Net profit up 6.55pct to $170.6m

* Revenue up 3.9pct to $4bn

* Interim dividend 99 cents per share, up from 91 cents a year ago.

  • Southern Cross revenue hurt by ad spend
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Southern Cross revenue hurt by ad spend

    Southern Cross Media's revenue has fallen due to a weak ad market but the company has gone from a $119.3 million net loss last year to a $20.4 million profit.

  • Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Australian stocks high on global rebound

    Australia's share market has hit a new high after a rebound on global market as coronavirus fears abated once more.

  • Super Retail underpayments rise by $8m
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Super Retail underpayments rise by $8m

    Super Retail, which has brands including Supercheap Auto and BCF, has posted a 20 per cent drop in first-half profit and has to pay back more wages to staff.

  • Domain swings to H1 profit but market flat
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Domain swings to H1 profit but market flat

    Real estate advertiser Domain bounced back from an impairment-driven $154.1 million loss a year ago but revenue has slipped 8.0 per cent to $147 million.

  • Medibank H1 profit dips on claims surge
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Medibank H1 profit dips on claims surge

    Medibank's net health insurance claims have risen by $158.7 million to $2.8 billion for the first half, a 5.9 per cent increase from a year ago.

  • Qantas cuts capacity due to coronavirus
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Qantas cuts capacity due to coronavirus

    Qantas has posted an interim profit slide and says it will reduce capacity to Asia and in the domestic market to weather the coronavirus outbreak.

  • Whitehaven profit plunges on coal prices
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Whitehaven profit plunges on coal prices

    Whitehave Coal shares have slumped after it posted a 91 per cent drop in first-half profit due to lower thermal coal prices and curbs at its Maules Creek mine.

  • Lendlease shares lift on H1 profit leap
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Lendlease shares lift on H1 profit leap

    Lendlease shares have hit a two-month high after the multinational property developer says it made a $308 million profit in the six months to December 31.

  • Boral slashes H1 payout as profit sags 40%
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Boral slashes H1 payout as profit sags 40%

    Boral's net profit plunged by $91.5 million in the six months to December 31, weighed down by weak housing construction activity.

  • Coca-Cola Amatil lifts FY profit by 34%
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Coca-Cola Amatil lifts FY profit by 34%

    Coca-Cola Amatil has improved revenue for the first time in seven years amid a 34 per cent full year net profit increase.

  • Origin hails robust H1 despite profit dip
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Origin hails robust H1 despite profit dip

    Origin Energy's first-half profit is down 25 per cent to $197 million but the company has hailed a strong performance from its Australia Pacific LNG division.

  • Star suffers 48% profit drop as VIPs win
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Star suffers 48% profit drop as VIPs win

    Winning VIPs have caused a 48 per cent drop to Star Entertainment's first-half profit and it's warned the coronavirus has had an impact of visitor numbers.

  • Santos posts 7% rise in net profit
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Santos posts 7% rise in net profit

    A jump in gas production has helped Santos offset weaker prices and lift its annual profit by 7.0 per cent.

  • Finance

    AAP Markets report for Thursday, Feb 20

    Movements on overseas markets.

  • Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Stocks to watch

    Stocks of interest at the close of trading on Wednesday, February 19.

  • Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Late rally sees ASX200 reach record high

    The benchmark S&P/ASX200 has set a new record closing high of 7,144.6, despite five more companies downgrading earnings over the coronavirus.

  • Vocus shares rise as company reduces debt
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Vocus shares rise as company reduces debt

    Vocus shares have hit a four-month high after the company said it was executing on its turnaround plan and kept profit stable despite a drop in revenue.

  • Dominos H1 profit up 29%, higher payout
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Dominos H1 profit up 29%, higher payout

    Domino's Pizza has lifted half-year net profit by 29.8 per cent and will pay shareholders an increased dividend.

  • Wesfarmers admits $24m underpayment
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Wesfarmers admits $24m underpayment

    Wesfarmers has flagged $24 million in "payroll errors" related to Target stores and its industrial and safety division in an otherwise strong first-half result.

  • Sonic's healthy profit means higher payout
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Sonic's healthy profit means higher payout

    Sonic Healthcare has reported a 14 per cent leap in half-year net profit thanks to its buying of US anatomical pathology provider Aurora Diagnostics.

  • Tabcorp sags amid soft H1 betting revenue
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Tabcorp sags amid soft H1 betting revenue

    Tabcorp investors remain underwhelmed after soft economic conditions underpinned below-expectation earnings and underlying profit figures.

  • Corporate Travel flags FY coronavirus hit
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Corporate Travel flags FY coronavirus hit

    Corporate Travel Management has cut its full-year underlying earnings guidance on an expected coronavirus hit.

  • Crown Resorts hit by coronavirus
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Crown Resorts hit by coronavirus

    Crown Resorts has posted a lower profit for the December half and warns of the impact the coronavirus outbreak is having on trading conditions.

  • Global rollout helps Lovisa lift H1 profit
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Global rollout helps Lovisa lift H1 profit

    Lovisa's added an extra 49 stores across the globe during the first half but has warned of an impending coronavirus hit.

  • UK's EG Group offers competing Caltex bid
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    UK's EG Group offers competing Caltex bid

    Britain's EG Group has made a $3.9 billion offer for Caltex Australia's retail business and a stake in a newly listed company, Ampol.