Super Cheap Auto Group has reported a 25 per cent increase in net profit to $32 million in the year to June 2009.
Super Cheap Auto Group managing director Peter Birtles said 2008-09 had been very successful, with the business delivering the highest rate of like for like sales growth since the introduction of GST.
“Our results demonstrate the strength and resilience of our business and the benefit of our investment in growth,” he said.
“As well as delivering strong growth in sales and profits, we have also continued to make significant progress in our major strategic initiatives.
“The plan we put in place in 2006 continues to set the direction for our group. Although this is updated on an annual basis, the core focus remains the same: customer service, store development, improving our retail operations, new product introduction, trade partnerships, improving our procurement and supply chain capabilities, developing our people and new business development.”
Sales for the Supercheap Auto division were at $604.2 million, 8.1 per cent higher than the prior comparative period. Like for like sales growth was 7.3 per cent for the year, which is the highest rate of like for like growth achieved in this decade. All states and territories of Australia delivered strong like for like sales growth.
In New Zealand, the business achieved like for like sales growth of 3.2 per cent, a very strong performance given the widely reported down turn in retail spending and the six per cent like for like growth achieved in the prior year.
The business performed particularly well in both the car maintenance and tools and outdoors product categories. There has been an increase in the number of customers servicing their own vehicles. Growth in sales of products in the car accessories category was not as strong, and reflected the slowdown in both new and used car sales.
Investment in store manning, store refurbishments, learning and development programs and a number of business improvement projects drove the increase in operating costs as a percentage of sales.
Six new stores were opened during the year, two stores were relocated and 30 stores were refurbished. The Albany store in New Zealand was reconfigured to become the second Supercheap Auto Superstore following the successful trial of this new format in Caboolture in South East Queensland. At the end of June, there were 256 stores trading across Australia and New Zealand.
The BCF (Boating Camping Fishing) division posted sales growth of 31 per cent over the prior comparative period to $205.5 million. Like for like sales growth was a very strong 12.5 per cent, benefiting from increased localised ranging, localised marketing and new products. The outdoor recreational industry has benefited from an increase in the number of Australian families taking low cost recreational vacations rather than travelling overseas or spending time in coastal apartments.
Ten new stores were opened during the year, with the business opening its first two stores in South Australia. At the end of June, the business had 59 stores trading with stores in all the mainland states and territories of Australia. One of the new stores that opened during the year came through the acquisition of the Jurkiewicz Adventure Store in Fyshwick. This iconic store has a strong winter ski business which BCF has started to expand into other stores surrounding the ski fields.
Birtles said the new financial year had already started well and the business planned to continue to invest in growth throughout 2009-2010.
“Like for like sales growth in both Supercheap Auto and BCF has been circa 10 per cent in the first eight weeks,” he said.
“We are confident our businesses will continue to grow faster than the markets they operate in, but we expect that there may be some slowing of market growth as unemployment and interest rates rise over the coming two years.
“Supercheap Auto will open between five and eight stores in the coming 12 months and will refurbish 40 stores including at least one more superstore. In addition, BCF plans to open five stores in the next year.”