By Chris Nicholls

BSR Group will buck the recent retail trends next week when it releases its annual results, with profits and dividends to rise despite the tough climate, said managing director Ian Brown.

Speaking exclusively to, Brown said while things had “been pretty tough the last couple of months”, with April gross profit (GP) down one per cent, the group had paid its retailers “very good” dividends, hinting at record figures.

“We’ve had a fairly good year, where our stakeholders have received very good dividends, and our retailers have certainly been earning more than they’ve ever earned from the company, and we’ve paid back a considerable amount more than we did last year,” said Brown.

Specific figures will not be available until next week, said Born, but even with a tough April, BSR managed to bounce back in May, with sales up eight per cent, although GP remained static.

To help maintain such figures in a more difficult economic climate, Brown said Betta Electrical stores had been cutting their purchases to suit the market.

“Obviously, our retailers are looking at their purchases very, very closely and to assist with cash flow, so our purchases are slightly down on our sales … which is probably an astute thing to do under the circumstances,” said Brown.

However, he said while purchases may be down, he had no plans to cut costs at this stage, due to “very tight” budgets.

“We don’t need to cut any costs at this stage because we’re meeting our budgets, so at this stage no, we don’t need to do any cost cutting, because our budgets have been very tight right from the very beginning,” said Brown.

While the group’s overall fortunes looked rosy, there were localised exceptions, Brown said, with stores in drought-affected Western Australia areas hardest hit.

“In the areas where they’ve had good rainfalls it’s been ok, but where it’s been drought-stricken, no, it has an impact,” he said.

“There’s no pattern – some of our guys are going like a house on fire, in areas that you’d think would be normally tough, and some of the guys are finding it more difficult than others.

“I’ve just done a trip round regional northern Victoria and southern New South Wales, and some of those guys were going quite well, although it was tough, and north Queensland seems to be going ok,” he said.