Super Retail – which owns Supercheap Auto, Rebel Sport, Boating Camping Fishing (BCF) and Macpac – says first-half trading had been subdued, with sales in its outdoor goods divisions directly hit by bushfires and smoke haze concerns and it is looking at a fall in earnings before interest and tax of up to 9% for the six months to December.
Fifty of the company’s BCF stores were directly affected by the fires or drought through temporary closures, with the company saying camping products experienced the most significant sales fall.
It said like-for-like sales at BCF had fallen 0.5% for the half-year period and were down 7% at Macpac.
Like-for-like sales across the whole company stayed prose 1.7%, thanks to solid trading at Rebel (up 3.3%) and Supercheap Auto (up 2.4%).
Group top-line sales were up 2.9% (to around $1.44 billion). Online sales jumped 22%.
“Beyond the sales impact of the bushfires, Group earnings have primarily been affected by higher store labour costs and the underperformance of Macpac,” the company said.
“Higher store labour costs and wage investment were mainly driven by the previously flagged partial implementation of the retail and clerical enterprise agreement.”
CEO Anthony Heraghty said in the statement; “While first-half earnings were challenged by exceptional circumstances, there are a number of positives in the expected result that bode well for the second half.”
Adjusting its forecast, Super Retail said earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) for the half would be $113 million to $115 million, a drop of between 7.6% and 9.2% on the $124.5 million of EBIT it reported for the December 2018 half year.
SUL shares eased 1.8% to $9.58. The sales and earnings downgrade had bee well anticipated by the market last week.
Super Retail joins Mosaic Brands sales downgrade and less than forecast figures from Kogan on Monday as well.