The Reject Shop (TRS) is a discount variety retail company, targeting Australian consumers through low price points, bargain-purchasing and convenient shopping locations.
TRS offers a wide variety of general consumer merchandise, with a focus on everyday needs, such as toiletries, cosmetics, homewares, personal care products, hardware, basic furniture, household cleaning products, kitchenware, confectionery and snack food.
The company has two key advantages that many of its mid-to-upper market rivals don’t – a strong Australian Dollar benefits earnings due to lower import costs, whilst the substitute nature of its products can appeal to cost-conscious consumers.
After a disappointing finish to FY11, TRS got itself back on track in 1H12, with net profit and sales rising on the back of a resumption in operations at its Ipswich Distribution Centre.
TRS grew its 1H12 net profit 4% on-year to $16.6 million.
New store openings helped sales climb 6.1% to $292.8 million, but this could have been higher had TRS not face capacity constraints in the early part of the half.
These capacity constraints were due to the early-2011 Queensland floods, which impacted operations at the Ipswich Distribution Centre.
TRS was able to generate sales momentum in the second quarter, helped by improved seasonable trade and the reinstatement of the Ipswich Distribution Centre.
A strong AUD combined with a reduction in shipping costs saw the company’s underlying gross margin rise from 44% in 1H11, to 45.4% in 1H12.
This was particularly impressive considering TRS faced price deflation over the period. It also illustrates how for TRS a high AUD can provide a hedge against price deflation, unlike many other retailers.
With the Ipswich Distribution Centre now fully functional, TRS can focus on continuing the sales momentum generated in the second quarter.
Furthermore, with inventory management back to normal, we expect TRS to further improve margins (via less stock markdowns) and build on 1H12’s strong operating cash flow performance (via better working capital management).
Although it expects a tough trading environment to persist into 2012, TRS said second half comparable sales to date were positive. We expect TRS’ new store rollout to continue to underpin sales growth into this year.
The group forecast FY12 net profit to be between 27% and 36% higher than FY11. Even taking this strong growth into account, TRS is trading on reasonable multiples and we expect this to translate into further gains in its share price.