Michael Hill jeweller struggles in US

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Michael Hill International, the jewellery retailer founded by its namesake, lifted revenue 4.7 per cent in the first half, though its US business continued to struggle.

Melbourne, Australia - August 24, 2017: A pedestrian walks past a Michael Hill jewelry store at the corner of Little Collins and Elizabeth Streets in the Central Business District of Melbourne, Australia.

Michael Hill store (file picture).

Source: istock.com

Group sales from all stores rose to A$341.5 million in the six months to December 31, 2017, from A$326m in the previous first half. Same-store sales grew 0.5 per cent to A$317.3m in the six months.

Michael Hill same-store sales rose 0.7 per cent to A$310.1m in the first half, while Emma & Roe same-store sales dropped 5.4 per cent to A$7.2m.

Total store sales for the Michael Hill chain increased 4.3 per cent to A$331m in the half, while Emma & Roe total sales jumped 20 per cent to A$10.5m in the period.

In the latest financial year, the jewellery company boosted annual profit by two thirds as its Michael Hill chain grew steadily in its main markets of Australia and New Zealand and recorded stronger growth in Canada.

However, its troubled US business and fledgling Emma & Roe chain posted wider losses.

In its annual results last year, the company said losses from the Emma & Roe brand had exceeded expectations and it would likely adjust the brand, which sells charm bracelets and accessories, in the current financial year.

There were 317 Michael Hill stores trading at the end of December, with 14 opened in the period.

Six opened in Australia, bringing the total there to 172; one opened in New Zealand and seven opened in Canada, bringing stores there to 83.

Dual-listed Michael Hill shares gained 0.8 per cent to $1.35 on the NZX, and have shed 6.2 per cent in the past 12 months.

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