By Patrick Avenell

Key Points

-Normalised net profit after tax of $134.4 million, up 13.6 per cent from FY2010.
-Total sales of just under $3 billion, up 8.3 per cent.
-Comparable stores sales growth of -1.2 per cent.
-Online sales grew 51.6 per cent year-on-year; 800,000 unique visits per week.
-16 new stores to open in FY2012, taking total count to 172 by July 2012.
New music streaming service to be launch by Christmas 2011.

JB Hi-Fi has continued to defy the doom and gloom surrounding traditional retail, posting an improved normalised net profit after tax result of just over $134 million for the 12 months to July 2011. This result takes into account the one-off $24.7 million restructuring of Clive Anthonys.

This growth is based on improved total sales across FY2011 of $2.96 billion, up 8.3 per cent from the $2.73 billion the preceding year. Further influencing this positive result was the maintenance of JB’s famously low cost of doing business (14.5 per cent) and a small improvement in gross margin (22 per cent, up from 21.8 per cent).

“We are pleased with our results in what was a challenging period for retail,” said CEO Terry Smart. “It is a testament to the strength of our brand, our systems and processes and the quality of our people in driving this result.”

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As part of its growth strategy, JB Hi-Fi has continued to convert under-performing Clive Anthonys stores into JB Hi-Fi outlets. At the end of FY2011, JB had 157 stores throughout Australia and New Zealand. This figure is forecasted to rise to 172, with new stores in Victoria (Greensborough, Hoppers Crossing, Traralgon, Thomastown, Springvale), New South Wales (Caringbah, Bankstown, Jamisontown, North Sydney) and Queensland (Mackay, Garden City). Five further locations remain undisclosed. JB Hi-Fi’s only closure during FY2011 was its Keilor (VIC) store.

Of interest in this new era of multichannel retailing, Smart reported significant growth in its online retail venture. The JB Hi-Fi online store grew 51.6 per cent across the 12 months, including 68.1 per cent growth in the last 6 months of the reporting period. Smart said this site averaged 800,000 unique visits per week during July 2011.

“We continue to enhance the customer online experience with the introduction of a mobile friendly website to browse, explore and transact online, combined with a new gift card module which enables our customers to activate and manage their JB Hi-Fi gift cards online,” said Smart, who also confirmed the imminent introduction of a buy online/pick up in-store offer.

For the upcoming 12 months, Smart predicted more growth, with JB forecasting sales of $3.2 billion for FY2012, which is around 8 per cent on the FY2011 result.