Trading On margin

Lockdowns take 9,400 trading days from Best and Less Group

The Best and Less Group maintained positive like-for-like sales despite losing 9,437 trading days in the first half of FY22, the company disclosed in its results.

Group comparable sales increased by 1% in H1 FY21 and by 12% in H1 FY20.

With stores closed during the period, the company’s online sales increased 24% to $37.9 million in the half, an increase of 118.5% over H1 FY20.

Best and Less Group CEO Rodney Orrock cited the group’s omnichannel structure as a driver of positive digital growth.

“Our omnichannel model continues to give us flexibility and the continued investments in the web are paying off, with online sales increasing significantly and conversion rates continuing to improve.

“We have managed our supply chain and inventory well and are in a strong position heading into the second half as trading conditions strengthen.

“With our strong balance sheet and cash position, we have the firepower to continue to invest in growth,” he said.

For the six-month period, the company recorded total revenue of $287.5 million, down 13.8% from the prior corresponding period (pcp).

The increase in average transaction value (ATV) and average selling price (ASP) allowed the company to improve gross profit margin by +210 basis points on pcp to 50.8%.

Meanwhile, careful attention and management of the cost of doing business resulted in an EBITDA margin of 10.6%.

Thanks to its strong margin and cost management efforts, the company achieved its EBITDA and NPAT guidance for calendar year 21 (CY21).

In CY21, Best and Less Group achieved EBITDA of $63.8 million (forecast: $62.4 million) and NPAT of $41.6 million (forecast: $41.3 million).

Orrock congratulated the team for being able to achieve this result.

“Despite losing over 21% of our total trading days to government-mandated store closures in the first half of the year, our team has been extremely successful in managing the things we can control, maintaining strong margins and to provide excellent service to our customers.

“Having achieved our CY21 Prospectus earnings guidance is an excellent result under challenging conditions and is the result of an unrelenting focus on gross margin and cost management across the business,” a- he declared.

Looking at first half results, Best and Less Group reported EBITDA of $30.6m, 20.3% lower than H1 FY21, and NPAT of $20m, 21.3% lower than H1 FY21. first semester FY21.

The retailer ended the period with 245 stores and net cash of $31.1 million.