By Chris Nicholls

HANOI: Over 250 people attended the first day of BSR Group’s annual conference today, listening to 2005 Young Australian of the Year, Khoa Do, speak of opportunity and general manager, Ian Brown, talk about the group’s long term strategy.

According to a release, the delegates and shareholders, who attended in numbers 15 per cent greater than last year, listened to Do, who told them “obstacles are your greatest opportunities”.

He reminded them to follow their heart, tap into their creativity and “find and harness your talent”.

Apart from Do, attendees also listened to specialists from various CE firms speak about IT products, home entertainment and whitegoods.

BSR Group general manager, Ian Brown, also announced a strategic plan for the long term direction of the company, focusing on achieving sustainable financial growth.

“These corporate goals have been split into 15 strategic programs that are being actioned and consistently monitored by the management team,” he said.

No specifics on these goals were available, though.

“The core theme is therefore to provide the increasingly sophisticated customer with what they are looking for in terms of product choice, knowledge and service as a combined retail experience,” he said.

“This impacts on all areas of our business and is reflected in our longer term strategy.”

Brown confirmed his statements made to in May that BSR had defied the economic downturn to announce a net profit after tax of $600,000 in its financial results for the full 2007-08 financial year.

“The result has allowed significant returns to be made to shareholders and at the same time maintained the group’s strong balance sheet position,” he said.

A final dividend of 10c was paid in May in addition to the 10c dividend paid in October,

“I believe we have struck an excellent balance between returning funds to retailers and shareholders as well as returning an element of profit back to reserves to build for the future,” said Brown.

BSR Group chairman, Garry Thyer, said the company was in excellent financial health and was set to meets its strategic objectives.

“Our vision ‘to be a group of independent retailers of customers solutions that people want to partner with and work for’ is therefore well on track to be delivered,” he said.