Myer has reported an 8.4% increase in net profit after tax to $42.9 million for the 26 weeks to 23 January 2021.

Wage subsidies and rent waivers offset the sales downturn of 13.1% due to store closures and reduced foot traffic. Comparable sales in Myer CBD stores declined 32% and remain challenged by restricted CBD workforce, tourism, and subdued consumer confidence. Excluding the CBD stores, sales would have been up 6.3%.

Online sales increased 71% to $287.6 million, representing 21% of total sales with record online sales during the Black Friday period. Key categories continue to perform strongly with beauty up 129% year-on-year and homewares up 116% year-on-year.

An improved fulfilment capacity and efficiency from the new 3PL arrangement was introduced prior to Christmas and is now responsible for fulfilling 25% of orders at a lower cost per order.  

During the half, Myer opened two refurbished stores on reduced space in Cairns, QLD and Belconnen, ACT. New leases were negotiated at Morley, WA and Highpoint, VIC including the hand back of one floor at each store with works to be completed in March and June, respectively.

Myer CEO and managing director, John King said the first half result reflects several positive achievements including the continued strength of online.

“We have now delivered five consecutive halves or reduced operating costs, which combined with a significantly improved balance sheet, has ensured the company was able to withstand this challenging operating environment,” he said.