By James Wells

BRISBANE: Betta Stores Limited (BSL) has reported strong third quarter sales with a 3.5 per cent increase in like-for-like sales in the 12 weeks ending 24 September 2006 compared to a year earlier.

BSL CEO Guy Houghton, said he is pleased with the results from the first quarter of the financial year which have been driven by the company’s new business strategy, promotions and product mix.

“Our strong first quarter shows our refresh program is really gaining traction,” Houghton said in a statement released this morning.

“Consumers are embracing our superstores and our product offer is perfectly pitched to the market thanks to the fantastic support and deals we’ve negotiated with suppliers at our recent state conferences.”

Houghton said some stores in regional and rural South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales had battled difficult conditions with the drought hurting consumer spending.

“But the tough trading in those areas was more than offset by strong increases in Queensland and Western Australia flowing from the mining boom,” he said.

“Overall we’ve had a strong start to the first quarter which puts us well on track to meet our full year targets.”

Houghton said BSL’s top 26 stores based on turnover in the 12 months ending June 30, 2006 continued to perform, producing a 6.8 per cent increase in first quarter sales compared to the same period a year ago.

The biggest increases were posted in week three of the first quarter when sales across the group jumped 10.4 per cent, and 15.2 per cent for the top 26 stores, in response to Betta Electrical’s July media campaign.

Sales were also boosted in August by the Fathers’ Day promotion offering a Ford Falcon XR6 Ute. Hot product categories included side-by-side fridges, set-top boxes, cordless phone packs, DVD/TV combos and small kitchen appliances, particularly juicers and coffee makers.