By James Wells

MELBOURNE: JB Hi-Fi impressed the market this morning with a record first half net profit increase of 41 per cent to $59 million from sales of $1,262 billion in sales for the six months ending 31 December 2008.

Comparable store growth for the period was 11.1 per cent after currency adjustments – with both Australia and New Zealand recording 11.3 per cent growth.

Margins were down slightly at 21.4 per cent from 21.6 per cent in the half year ending 31 December 2007, despite what the retailer referred to as “competitor discounting and the strong performance of low margin categories”.

Significantly, the company’s cost of doing business was down 92 basis points to 13.42 per cent which is lower than the 14.33 per cent recorded for the comparable six month period a year earlier.

In the first half of the financial year, JB Hi-Fi increased its EBIT Margin by 69 basis points to 7.25 per cent (up from 6.56 per cent a year earlier) and cashflow from operations increased by 132.1 per cent to $189.6 million for the half year.