Profit rise for JB Hi-Fi

Electronics retailer JB Hi-Fi has lifted its first half profit by three per cent and expects full year profit to grow by up to seven per cent.

The company made a net profit of $82 million in the six months to December 31, up from $79.6 million in the same period on the previous year.

Total sales grew by 2.3 per cent from the previous corresponding period, due to growth in the company's number of stores.

On a comparable store basis, sales were down 3.5 per cent from the previous corresponding period.

Chief executive Terry Smart on Monday said calendar 2013 had got off to a positive start, with comparable store sales up 4.2 per cent from the previous January.

He has forecast a full year net profit in a range of $108 million to $112 million, up from the previous year's $104.6 million.

Mr Smart said sales of televisions remained a drag on electronics retail.

"Whilst we continue to see total sales growth, the visual (TV) category, in particular, negatively impacted comparative store growth," he said in a statement.

"The industry has seen TV sales decline over the past few years as the category moves towards a more typical replacement driven sales market.

"The JB brand, however, continued to attract customers with our market share growing solidly."

JB Hi-Fi opened 11 new stores in the six months to December, and expects to open another four in the second half of this financial year.

It had 176 stores in Australia and New Zealand as of December 31, and plans to have 214 stores in several years time.

Online sales in the six months to December grew by 40 per cent from the previous corresponding period, but at $37.2 million represent just two per cent of its total sales of $1.8 billion.

The company declared a fully-franked interim dividend of 50 cents per share, up from 49 cents at the same time in the previous year.

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