Consumer demand for cool sporting apparel, car maintenance products and wet weather gear have helped power Rebel and Supercheap Auto owner Super Retail Group to record record sales in the six months to December.
The retailer, which runs a range of brands including sports goods brand Rebel, Macpac and Supercheap Auto, said its sales climbed 15 per cent to $1.96 billion in the six months to December. Profits were up by 38.1 per cent to $144.2 million.
Chief executive Anthony Heraghty said Rebel’s focus on partnering with popular global sporting brands had helped drive sales, while everyday essential spending on car products and strong demand for raincoats in this wet summer helped boost demand across Super Retail’s other major brands.
Super Retail Group CEO Anthony Heraghty. Credit:Ben Searcy
The group confirmed on Thursday that the sales momentum from the December half had continued into January.
Rebel’s performance fuelled the overall numbers, with year-on-year sales up 13 per cent to $682million for the half, and profits before tax up 23 per cent to $84 million.
Heraghty said the resurgence of organised sport after the pandemic is helping the brand, while the group’s new “RCX” (Rebel customer experience) store formats are offering a more interactive experience focused on more popular global sports brands in football and basketball.
“The key thing is what we’ve been able to do is partner with global brands to ensure the products we’re giving customers is, frankly, the cool stuff,” he said.
The company’s basketball goods sales were up 126 per cent compared with before the pandemic in 2019, and now make up 8 per cent of all sales. Rebel’s football goods segment has grown by 60 per cent since 2019 and now makes up 9 per cent of total sales.
“We’ve caught the zeitgeist in terms of the basketball trend,” Heraghty said.
The company was clear on Thursday that although it had posted a strong half of sales, it faces the same challenging macroeconomic conditions that the rest of the retail sector is grappling with.
Heraghty said that one positive for the company was that brands such as Supercheap Auto were more defensive because they focused on lower-cost essentials such as car maintenance, which consumers would not stop spending on in a slowdown.
“If my light bulb is broken on the brake light, I’ll get a new brake light,” he said.
Children’s sporting goods are also one of the last things a family will cut down on if things are tight – and even if shoppers are looking to scale down, this usually involves moving away from global brands towards more budget-friendly options.
“You might not buy the Lebron [branded sneaker], but you might buy two or three [price points] down,” Heraghty said.
Supercheap Auto sales were up by 18.3 per cent for the half to $728.6 billion, while BCF saw a 7 per cent change to $447.6 million.
Hiking and outdoor goods brand Macpac bounced back from the COVID years with sales growth of 54.8 per cent to $101.4 million. Heavy rainfall thanks to La Nina helped drive strong demand for raincoats and other wet weather gear.
The group declared an interim dividend of 34 cents per share, up from 27 cents this time last year.
Super Retail was hit with court action brought by the Fair Work Ombudsman last month over claims it engaged in serious breaches of the Fair Work Act through alleged underpayments which occurred between 2017 and 2019.
The company told investors on Thursday that the case was still in its early stages, but it has increased its provision for what is potentially payable as a result of those proceedings by $8.8 million, bringing the total provision to $14.6 million.
Its shares were 4.3 per cent stronger to $12.48 in early afternoon trading.
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