LA Private

Super Retail Group joins weak trading confession club

Shares in Brisbane-based Super Retail Group (ASX:SUL) were down 6% at one stage on Thursday after it joined the weak trading confession club that already contains rivals Bapcor, Baby Bunting, Woolworths, J B Hi-Fi, but not Temple and Webster or Coles.

Unlike some of its peers (J B Hi-Fi, for example), Super Retail at least saw some growth in the March quarter – not much, but enough to give directors some heart.

The weak trading update has come on top of a possible lawsuit against the company amid allegations of an undisclosed relationship involving the group’s boss, Anthony Heraghty, as well as governance issues and bullying claims.

The company owns a number of big-name retail chains and said that for weeks 27 to 43 (the current June half), like-for-like (comparable or same-store sales) sales rose 1% at Supercheap Auto LFL sales, fell 2% at Rebel, dropped 5% at BCF, rose 3% at Macpaw, for an overall drop of 1%.

That saw sales for the financial year to date (43 weeks) up 3% at Supercheap Auto, down 2% at Rebel, up 5% at BCF, and 2% at Macpaw for an overall group increase of 2% – which is stronger than most of its retailing peers.

The company said that for March and April, group sales were around 1% higher than the same period in 2023, with its gross profit margin “in line” with the period.

The company said it has opened 20 stores and closed four in FY24 so far. It expects to open another seven stores before the end of June.

CEO Heraghty said in the update that “Given current challenges around inflation and interest rates, our customers are managing their spending carefully and becoming increasingly value-focused. While store foot traffic and transaction volumes continue to grow, ongoing cost-of-living pressure is impacting the number of items per sale.”