Myer Holdings (MYR) is one of Australia’s largest department store groups, targeting a wide spectrum of consumers. The company has a national network of stores, retailing designer, national, and international fashion and apparel for men, women and children.
MYR focuses on its retail presence and execution, and also operates a consumer loyalty program.
Improving consumer environment
MYR has been operating in an extraordinarily tough consumer environment in recent years, but conditions look to be easing.
In the first four months of 2013, the Westpac Consumer Confidence Index has risen to its highest level since December 2010. Since last October, consumer confidence has risen 11.5%.
It appears the RBA’s 2012 interest rate cuts are beginning to have a noticeable impact on confidence, leading to improved operating conditions for retailers like MYR.
Last month, MYR mentioned that its 1H13 net profit increased by 0.7% from the prior corresponding period to $87.9 million. An interim dividend of 10 cents was declared.
CEO, Mr. Bernie Brookes, said that, “we are pleased that the positive sales trend continued during the half, with the second quarter representing our third consecutive quarter of positive comparative store sales growth.
On a comparable store sales basis, 1H13 sales increased by 1.4% on the prior corresponding period to $1.7 billion.
The result was attributed to the good performance of its menswear, cosmetics, womenswear, fashion accessories, and childswear divisions.
Despite a challenging environment, MYR managed to grow same store sales by focusing on things it can control like improved customer service, new stores and refurbishments, and a better online offering.
The group’s investment in its own brands also appears to be paying off, with the positive customer reception helping to drive a 23 basis point increase in gross margin from 1H12.
On a one year forward P/E basis MYR is trading on a multiple of just 13.1x, representing a 13.5% discount to the median of its closest peers.
MYR has provided three straight quarters of comparable store growth and we expect this trend to continue.
Sentiment towards retailing stocks is improving, with consumer confidence rising to multi-year highs thanks in part to the RBA’s rate cutting cycle.
MYR responded to the challenging retail environment by investing in its own brands. The 1H13 results showed solid demand for MYR’s brands, and we think this will translate into continued margin expansion.
The stock is still trading at relatively inexpensive multiples, offering good value around current prices.
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