NZ's Warehouse H1 profit rises strongly

WELLINGTON, March 8 Thu Mar 7, 2013 2:51pm EST

WELLINGTON, March 8 (Reuters) - New Zealand's biggest listed retailer, The Warehouse Group Ltd, posted a 97 percent rise in first-half profit on Friday boosted by one-off gains, but said trading conditions had improved and it expected a higher year profit.

The Warehouse reported a net profit after tax of NZ$106.3 million ($87.8 million) in the six months to Jan. 29, compared with NZ$54 million in the same period last year.

The result included a one-off gain from the sale of property of NZ$62 million, with the adjusted net profit reported at NZ$52.9 million.

Group revenue rose 18 percent to NZ$1.1 billion, including around NZ$129 million from the Noel Leeming electronics and appliances retail chain, which was bought in December.

It said it expected adjusted net profit after tax for the full year of between NZ$73.0 million and NZ$76.0 million, compared with last year's NZ$65.2 million.

The company declared a dividend of 15.5 cents against last year's 13.5 cents a share.

Its shares closed on Thursday at NZ$3.50, having gained nearly 14 percent so far this year compared with a 4 percent gain for the benchmark NZX-50 index.

The Warehouse has more than 90 discount stores, known as "Red Sheds", which sell everything from consumer electronics, appliances, clothing, garden supplies, and grocery items. It also has 50 shops selling stationery and computers.

Earlier this week, the company said it had bought a majority stake in online retailer Torpedo7 for a maximum NZ$33 million.

It competes against Briscoe Group Ltd, KMart , the privately-owned Farmers department stores, and a host of smaller specialist retailers, such as clothing firm Hallenstein Glasson Ltd.. ($1=NZ$1.21)

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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