JB Hi-Fi beats expectations despite H1 profit fall

JB Hi-Fi's sales and profit fell in the first half but not by as much as analysts had expected, which prompted its shares to rise in early trading.

The electronics and home appliances retailer, which also owns the Good Guys chain, announced on Monday total group sales were down 2.2 per cent to $5.16 billion in the six months to December 31, compared to the previous corresponding period.

Net profit fell 19.9 per cent to $264.3 million, and the company cut its interim dividend by a similar percentage, to $1.58 per share.

"We are pleased with our performance as we cycled the elevated customer demand in the prior year," said group chief executive Terry Smart. 

"As expected, we saw the trading environment become more challenging, marked by heightened competitive activity and increased on-floor discounting."

E&P Capital retail analyst Phillip Kimber said the retailer had beaten expectations by five to six per cent, and its January sales momentum was better than expected - up 2.5 per cent for JB Hi-Fi Australia, and down 2.2 per cent for the Good Guys.

"The stronger than expected result continues to highlight JBH's good performance in tough operating conditions," Mr Kimber wrote.

JB Hi-Fi shares jumped 5.3 per cent to a four-week high of $59.545 in early trading Monday morning.

Sales in JB Hi-Fi's Australian stores were up 0.7 per cent to $3.62b, with same-store sales up 0.1 per cent, driven by demand for mobile phones, games hardware, small appliances, white goods and services.

Sales at The Good Guys were down 9.9 per cent to $1.39b, with home appliance trading resilient while consumer electronics sales dipped compared to the elevated demand in 2022.

In New Zealand, JB Hi-Fi sales were up 5.1 per cent to $NZ168.7m ($159m), but same-store sales were down 1.2 per cent.

The group ended the year with net cash of $488m. It plans to open three to five stores each year in New Zealand over the next three years.

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