18 Aug 2012

Profit lifted by Michael Hill

7:21 am on 18 August 2012

Michael Hill International says it will focus on improving margins in Australia over coming year, after lifting its profit by adding more jewelry stores and improving its performance in New Zealand.

The company's profit increased 6% to $36.5 million in the year to the end of June.

Sales rose 4.5% to $511 million, but sales at stores open at least a year edged down due to tougher trading conditions in Australia.

Michael Hill makes two thirds of earnings there, offsetting a continued recovery in revenue in New Zealand, Canada and the United States.

Michael Hill says its main focus will be on reversing declines in same store sales in Australia over the coming year.

MHI says it's confident of more growth and profitability. But its lustre has been dimmed slightly by tax disputes in both Australia and New Zealand over the transfer of intellectual property in 2008, which may end up in court.

Michael Hill declared a higher dividend of 3.5 cents per share.