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“Solid result, difficult market” as FY12 sales drop 1.3% to $3,1 billion.

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Comparable store sales for the high street retailer also fell 2%, despite several new Myers popping up in key locations.

Net profit for FY12 also slid over 14% to $139.3 m.

Q4 sales showed little in the way of improvement, with growth of just 0.3% to $766 m on a comparable store basis, excluding newly rationalised categories.

Myer boss, Bernie Brookes, said the business had delivered a “solid result in a challenging retail environment with subdued consumer confidence,” noting the positive outcome for the final quarter of 2012 financial year.

The best performing stores were in the mining states of Western Australia and Queensland.

Despite significant price deflation, particularly in TVs, the retailer achieved sales growth in a number of electrical categories including Appliances and Home Office.

Myer also improved gross profit margin across its electrical category, attributed to its “shift to brands focused on design, quality, colour and innovation.”

The exit of white goods and gaming and consoles and rationalisation of music, DVDs and GPS categories, hit sales by $31 million.

“The highlight of this year’s result is the strong gross profit performance reflecting a number of key achievements ” said Mr Brookes.  Myer’s gross profit rose 1.3% to $1.2bn.

“We delivered on the objectives of growing our Myer Exclusive Brands to 19 percent of sales, further reducing our shrinkage and markdowns, and improving our sourcing.”

Brookes also alluded to Myer five-point strategic plan including its loyalty program, which signed up 500,000 new members, and its multi or omnichannel, which he said clearly supported profitability and helped offset “cost headwinds.”

In relation to omni-channel, the retailer said online sales more than doubled in 2012 with accelerated growth during the year and says  it is “a significant opportunity”.

Over 14 million unique visits made to myer.com.au, helped by  key improvements included a new homepage design, improved search functionality, a one-page check out and enhanced conversion tactics.

Brookes also said he was “encouraged” by the positive feedback from customers on the retailers improved customer service and  enhanced merchandise.

“We recognise that our customers want to be able to touch and feel products in store as well asengage with knowledgeable and helpful staff.

 

“The right combination of physical stores and technology, together with the right offer and fast,efficient fulfillment is critical to our success in omni-channel. We are focused on delivering aseamless customer experience across all digital and retail touch points, which is integral to thesuccess of this strategy.”

The retailer Increased investment in “customer facing hours” to $17 million but said operational costs including store wages, , store rents, and taxes all increased over the financial year.

Myer also announced 19c dividend, fully franked to be paid on 14 November 2012.

The retailer confirmed the future outlook is uncertain due to a continued tough retailing environment and subdued consumer confidence and does not intend to provide sales or profit guidance for FY2013.

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