Despite the enduring pandemic, lockdowns, restrictions and all the other crap that COVID has rained down upon us (I’m a VERY annoyed Melbournian this morning), retail has, for the most part, surprisingly stayed afloat, even thriving in some areas.
One of those areas is jewelry. Yep, diamonds remain a girl’s best friend, even when in an economic crisis.
An expert told Jeweler Magazine that strong sales across the industry could likely be attributed to pent-up customer demand following COVID-19 lockdowns. To rid themselves of “cabin fever” consumers have bought products.
Jeweler, Michael Hill International (ASX: MHJ), has reported positive results for the quarter with same store sales up 7.5% compared to the prior year and, an all store sales basis up by 116.3%.
Full year sales show same store sales up 8.6% and all store sales up 13.5% notwithstanding 10,447 lost store trading days across their global store network.
Compounding this good news, their EBIT is reportedly in line with analyst expectations, and memberships to their loyalty program, Brilliance by Michael Hill is up to 750,000, compared to last year’s 200,000.
Jewelry isn’t something usually purchased online however, couch based shoppers (some with a glass of Merlot in hand, no doubt) pushed digital sales for the group by 51.1%, exceeding $30 million, to represent 6.2% of full year total sales.
Michael Hill International CEO and Managing Director Daniel Bracken said: “I’m very pleased with our Q4 results- sales growth in all markets, increased margins, and an outstanding performance from our bricks and mortar stores delivering almost 20% same store sales growth for the quarter. Setting aside the global store network closure in 2020, Michael Hill has now delivered eight consecutive quarters of comp sales growth, together with sustained margin expansion.
“The performance provides further evidence that our strategic transformation agenda is on track and delivering. We’ve seen record digital sales, our loyalty program going from strength to strength, further deployment of omni-channel initiatives, and continued evolution of our product offering, go-to-market campaigns and retail fundamentals.
“The Company continues to navigate a disrupted retail environment, with significant store closures on a regular basis. I’m particularly proud that we have taken a strong and proactive position in supporting our team members during these very challenging times. The connections with our teams, customers and suppliers continue to be at the forefront of our minds.
“We finished the year with a strong trading performance and a very robust balance sheet. Combined with demonstrated traction in our growth strategies, this sees the Company well-positioned to continue its earnings trajectory and explore new opportunities.”
The Company has rounded out the year with 285 stores open and a net cash position of $70 million.