JB Hi-Fi reported it made a net profit of $82.1 million for the first half of the 2013 financial year, up from $79.6 million in the same period last year.

This was mainly driven by the 6.5 per cent rise in hardware sale, which includes the IT, cameras and telecommunication categories. This helped push a 3.1 per cent sales growth for JB Hi-Fi branded stores in Australia and New Zealand and a 2.3 per cent increase for total group sales.

The only let down was the visual category, which continued to impact negatively on JB Hi-Fi, particularly on their comparative store growth.

JB Hi-Fi reported its comparable store sales were -3.5 per cent as the visual category makes up 85 per cent of the reported number. But excluding the visual category it would have been up to 0.6 per cent.

“The TV category makes up 11.2 per cent of total company sales. Market statistics show the industry is around 20 per cent to 22 per cent lower in value so considering overall we continue to gain market share in the space,” Smart said.

The retailer continues to focus on its multi-store position with its online store representing 2 per cent of total sales.

At the same time its trial of JB Hi-Fi Home, whilst still in its early stages, has exceeded internal expectations and is seeing positive customer engagement with good growth in appliances and no adverse effect on traditional JB Hi-Fi product categories.

“The stores we converted were four existing co-located Clive Anthony stores. Early sales have been encouraging and it’s ahead of our internal expectation. We’ve had positive impact and this has had no impact on existing JB Hi-Fi categories,” Smart said. “We are now converting two additional stores in the November and will continue to review this before deciding on the next step.”

Looking ahead, the company expect sales in financial year 2013 to be circa $3.25 billion and NPAT within the range of $108 million to $112 million. Their financial year 2013 is based on consolidated comparable store sales in financial year 2013 of circa negative 3 per cent and gross margin in line with the first half at 21.5 per cent.

“We are cycling aggressive discounting and this is likely to drive sales growth but we expect growth margins to be relatively stable. The market will remain unpredictable at best,” Smart said.