6 Sep 2013

Briscoe boss shows cautious optimism

7:10 am on 6 September 2013

Briscoe Group managing director Rod Duke is cautiously optimistic that customer confidence will continue to improve.

However, Mr Duke says retailing in general is still very difficult and his company's success in raising profits is due to shifting consumer preferences.

The sporting goods and homewares retailer lifted first-half net profit 12.4%.

The company, which operates the Rebel Sport, Briscoes and Living & Giving chains, reported a net profit of $14.9 million for the six months to July compared with $13.3 million in the same period last year.

Although the company's gross profit margin slipped half a percentage point due to the very late start of the winter season, Mr Duke said he's pleased with the results which reflect his company's success in gaining market share.

He said business has been quite difficult over the last couple of years but both Briscoe homewares and Rebel Sport have been getting market share.

Mr Duke said the results indicate a shift in customer loyalty to both those brands.

He said the Living & Giving chain was the first to go down when the global financial crisis came and he expects it will be the last to improve.

Mr Duke said there is probably room for another five Briscoes stores in the next year or two. An announcement for three new stores is set in about six weeks.