9 Mar 2012

The Warehouse lifts profits

7:33 pm on 9 March 2012

Profits at the country's biggest listed retailer, The Warehouse, rose more than 3% in the first half as sales improved.

The retailer made an after-tax profit of $43 million in the six months to 29 January, up 3% on the same period last year.

Its operating profit slipped 14% to $68 million, while its adjusted profit fell 12% to $46 million.

Group sales rose 3.3% to $937 million with margins holding in all the retailer's major categories except clothing.

The Warehouse, which has 88 stores and 50 Warehouse Stationery outlets across the country, is implementing a three-year turnaround strategy.

Chief executive Mark Powell says the strategy is boosting sales, but the clothing sector remains a challenge.

It expects a full year after tax profit of $62 - $66 million.

The Warehouse will pay a dividend of 13.5 cents a share, down from 15.5 cents last year.

Its shares climbed more than 5%; closing up 15 cents to $2.80 on Friday,