June 11, 2020 / 12:10 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Australia's JB Hi-Fi forecasts 20% annual profit jump

(Adds details from statement, analyst estimate, background)

June 11 (Reuters) - Australia’s No. 1 electronics retailer JB Hi-Fi Ltd on Thursday forecast annual profit to rise 20-22%, supported by a jump in sales at its domestic stores through the coronavirus pandemic.

The upbeat view comes as most of the company’s stores in Australia were open through a virus-enforced lockdown and as its online offering prospered.

JB Hi-Fi now expects 2020 adjusted net profit after tax to be between A$300-A$305 million ($209.7-$213.2 million) and sales of around A$7.86 billion.

It had earlier forecast profit of between A$265-A$270 million on revenue of A$7.33 billion, before withdrawing the guidance amid uncertainty created by the pandemic.

The firm said comparable sales at its JB Hi-Fi Australia stores surged 20% in the second-half to date, while those at The Good Guys - the home appliances-focused chain it acquired in 2016 - climbed 23.5%.

Analysts at Citi had estimated that like-for-like sales at Victoria-headquartered JB Hi-Fi could grow 30% or more in the fourth quarter.

The announcement follows a similarly bullish update from rival Harvey Norman on Wednesday.

JB Hi-Fi added that while its stores in New Zealand were now open, it would review parts of the business, which would result in a post-tax, non-cash impairment of about A$25 million for the full year.

$1 = 1.4304 Australian dollars Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Stephen Coates

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