JB Hi-Fi is already off to a flyer in FY2015, registering a 0.5 per cent increase in total sales for the period between 1 July and 26 October 2014, according to CEO Richard Murray.
In his speech to shareholders at JB’s annual general meeting, Murray thanked former CEOs Richard Uechtritz and Terry Smart for establishing a solid company for the CEO, who officially took over the reigns at the start of 2015 financial year.
In addition to revealing that total sales were up year-on-year, Murray recommitted JB Hi-Fi to its previously announced guidance of $3.6 billion for the 12 months to 30 June 2015. This positive news was offset somewhat by the revelation that comparable sales are actually down 2.1 per cent over the year-to-date prior.
A positive Christmas is expected, Murray said, due to exciting new product releases and an increase in stock availability of otherwise extant models. This is expected to offset some of the declines caused earlier in the year when iPad sales began to lag drastically due, in part, to much slower replacement cycles.
“Sales in July and August this were affected by the market-wide decline in tablet sales and weaker consumer sentiment,” Murray said. “Pleasingly, we have returned to positive comparable sales growth in September and October, which is a solid improvement on the first two months’ trading and places us in a good position as we move into the key Christmas trading period.”
Murray singled out several products as being integral to JB Hi-Fi sales, providing an interesting insight into how the retailer’s business has changed over the past five years to one focused on TV sales to one dominated by mobility devices and gaming.
“Recent product releases, including the launch of the new iPhones and Microsoft Surface 3, combined with improved stock availability of both the PS4 and Xbox One gaming consoles, have assisted us in returning to sales growth. These products will help to drive sales through the Christmas period.”
Meanwhile, Murray reports that JB’s ambitious appliance play, Home, is tracking at one year ahead of schedule. JB is scheduled to open five new JB Home stores and convert a further 26 existing JB Hi-Fi stores during FY15, taking the total number of outlets to 53. The eventual goal is for 75 JB Home stores by the end of FY2016.
“JB Hi-Fi Home represents a significant growth opportunity as we leverage the strength and trust in the JB Hi-Fi brand,” he said. “The home appliances market is circa $4.6 billion, larger than many of the other categories JB Hi-Fi currently operates in.”