The Michael Hill jewellery store network is broken down into three segments, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Same stores growth in AUD was up 4.0% in the quarter over the same period last year and up 1.57% in local currency.
Strong October and November
MHJ’s CEO Daniel Bracken said: “Overall, we are pleased with our result for this all-important second quarter.
“The business had a solid October and a very strong November on the back of launching our Christmas campaign early to capitalise on the Black Friday weekend.
While the shift in consumer behaviour saw a significant uplift in November sales in all markets, our sales in early December were somewhat disappointing.
“As we anticipated, the Christmas trading pattern changed significantly this year, with a pull-forward of sales into November.
Australian retail remains challenging
“Pressure on gross margin continued in all markets, with deep-discounting from many competitors.
“The Australian retail environment was particularly difficult given prevailing low consumer confidence, the competitive environment in our industry segment, together with foreign exchange and gold price headwinds.”
e-commerce initiatives gaining traction
On a positive note, Michael Hill website sales were up by 44.3% for the half and +47.1% for the December quarter.
Web sales represent 3.3% of quarterly sales for the group, leaving significant scope for further growth.