Retail group JB Hi-Fi had a bumper financial year thanks in part to a massive increase in online sales during coronavirus lockdowns.
Announcing its 2019-20 financial year results on Monday, the consumer electronics retailer reported total sales across its group – which includes The Good Guys brand – of $7.9 billion, an increase of 11.6 per cent from the previous year. Net profit after tax increased by 33 per cent.
The high profits were helped by a nearly 50 per cent increase in online sales over 12 months with JB Hi-Fi reporting its fourth quarter (April-June 2020) online sales went up a whopping 134 per cent.
“This is a strong result in the most challenging of times,” said JB Hi-Fi Group CEO, Richard Murray.
“We are pleased to report strong sales and earnings for FY20 and importantly, we have provided customers with the products they required as they spend more time working, learning and seeking entertainment at home.”
Communications and computers were two of the major categories driving JB Hi-Fi's profit growth, helped in part by consumers rushing out to purchase home office equipment as working from home became the new normal.
The retailer said it did not receive any subsidies from the Australian government, although the New Zealand government gave it around $2.7 million to subsidise staff wages while stores across the Tasman were closed.
Earlier this month, Melbourne’s latest lockdown forced 46 JB Hi-Fi and 21 The Good Guys stores to close for six weeks.
But the group’s investor update said it had already seen a “significant acceleration in online sales in Victoria” in the first two weeks after stores temporarily closed their doors.
In April, some 850 JB Hi-Fi staff signed an online petition calling for stores to close for fear of getting sick as COVID-19 spread across the country.
Murray was grateful for his 13,000-strong staff, saying their “safety and wellbeing” was the company’s “highest priority”.
“Our team members are our number one asset and our most important competitive advantage,” he said.
The group paid a $1,000 bonus to its full-time, customer-facing staff in June.
JB Hi-Fi’s share price grew by nearly five per cent (up to $49.60) in Monday’s trading off the back of its strong results.
Investors can expect a rising dividend payment as well, with JB Hi-Fi announcing its 2019-20 dividend would go up by 33 per cent to $1.89 per share.