Although sales suffer.

Myer has released its financial results for the 26 weeks ended 28 January, 2017, recording a 5.3% increase in net profit after tax (NPAT) to $62.8 million. Pleasing sales around key trading periods, including Christmas, was offset by subdued sales during the stocktake sale, resulting in a modest comparable store sales growth for the half.

Total sales declined by 0.6% to $1.78 billion, however on a comparable store basis, sales were up 0.3%. Sales in the second quarter fell by 1.3%, down 0.5% on a comparable store basis.

Myer managing director and CEO, Richard Umbers (pictured) said, “The improved profit result was achieved against a backdrop of aggressive competition with heavy discounting both before and after Christmas and patchy consumer confidence. We are 18 months into our five year transformation and I am pleased with the progress we have made. We are a better and stronger company as a result of the New Myer strategy.

“As we enter the next phase of transformation, we are delivering on a number of longer term initiatives to support New Myer including an improved omni-channel and a productivity step change. To support the business into the future, we are also focused on ensuring we have an efficient and sustainable operating model in place,” he added.

Customers responded well to the launch of the new Myer store at Warringah Mall with sales per square metre up 38% compared to FY2014 when the store last traded without centre disruption. The store will benefit further as customer traffic continues to return to the centre.

“Our omni-channel business continues to grow with sales up 48% due to a much improved customer experience online. This together with significant improvements in pick, pack and fulfilment contributed to another half of profit growth ahead of sales growth.” Click & Collect now represents 11.8% of sales.

“The focus on store footprint optimisation continued with the recent closure of three stores at Wollongong, Brookside and Orange. In addition, further progress in optimising our support office has been made by the recent decision to hand back more than a third of the space at 800 Collins Street,” Umbers said.

Sales in January and February were below expectations with January being the low point. Based on the expectation that those conditions do not return Myer still anticipates EBITDA growth to exceed sales growth in FY2017 and increased NPAT over FY2016.