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JB Hi-Fi Solid, But January "Lumpy": Analysts

By Oonagh Reidy | Tuesday | 04/02/2014

As JB Hi-Fi profits, sales soar, "lumpy" January sales doesn't mean a slowdown, say analysts

No major surprises in JB Hi-Fi HY14 earnings, say analysts although there was concerns about "weak" cash flow in 1H, which fell below expectations. 

The electronics retailer saw HY14 net profit spike 10% to $90.3 million, sales rose 7% to $1.94 billion for six months to 31 December last, buoyed by growth in white goods, TV and commercial. 

Comparable sales for January rose 3.8%, compared to 2% as reported in JB's trading update released earlier in the month.  

JB Hi-Fi like-for-like (LFL) sales growth rate seems to have accelerated sharply in the final days of January, climbing almost 2%, notes Michael Simotas, Deutsche Bank analyst, in a research note. 

"While sales can be lumpy from week to week, this is pleasing given it arrests the concerns some held last week that the LFL sales momentum was slowing."

Operating cash flow of $78.3 m was singled out as the only negative from yesterday's result, given the fall was equivalent to 30% representing approx. 72% cash conversion, and was below DB analysts' estimates of $106.2 m. 

JB forecast FY 14 NPAT to rise 8.3%-10.8% "is only slightly ahead of analysts expectations (Bloomberg) but in our view may lead to modest consensus upgrades due to the conservative track record of management," says Simotas. 

Inventory build in existing stores seems to be the key issue. Analysts also queried the driver of the gross margin improvement given the mix related headwinds.

Shares rose following the earnings announcement, yesterday.  

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