JB Hi-Fi whiteware exit hurts 1H earnings

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The group reported a 21 per cent increase in first-half profit to A$151.7m.

JB Hi-Fi said online sales nearly doubled since the launch of a new website in August last year, accounting for 3.8 per cent of first-half sales, or $4.8m, compared to 2 per cent a year earlier.

The NZ division reported negligible earnings before interest and tax in the six months ended December 31, compared to $1 million a year earlier.

The company lifted its interim dividend 14 cents to 86 cents, fully franked.

Total sales in New Zealand dropped 0.4 per cent to $115.5 million ($NZ124.6 million).

As far as online sales go, that improved as well with a 40.6% increase in sales online. The segment only contributed 3.4% of total sales for the period.

"It was another strong result for the JB HI-FI business in Australia, particularly through the important November and December periods", said the JB HI-Fi chief executive Richard Murray.

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"We are pleased with the progress we have made at The Good Guys and are confident about the future opportunities for the Group".

Despite this, Murray says he is happy with how the business unit is tracking overall.

Not a great result for New Zealand, however, management will be putting most of its energies into the Australian business and integration of The Good Guys.

The chain, which has successfully moved into whiteware in Australia, has also told the ASX that while it enjoyed a bumper first half, its New Zealand operations were treading water.

The company's 15 New Zealand stores are a small part to the Australian group's 311 JB Hi-Fi and Good Guys retail outlets.

The company now expects its full-year profit to be in the $235-$240 million range - beating its $172 million result last year.

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