Harvey Norman's figures for the first quarter of FY2017 released yesterday drew the same sorts of comment as those following Wesfarmers Q1 - that is, concern about a slowing of sales growth.
Harvey Norman's overall sales for Q1 (July-September 2016) were AU$1.69 billion or +6.6%
But, as with the latest end of year results (FY2016 - see below), the bottom line growth was more impressive.
Overall unaudited profit before tax was put at AU$115.6 million, +25.9% on the previous year.
In the Australian market, Q1 sales and comparables were both +5.4%, the home territory proving the least performing of Harvey Norman's seven regions in local currencies.
In the New Zealand market, for example, in local currency, sales were +11.6% and comparables +8.2%
Is the Q1 FY2017 result more of the same?
Revisiting the FY2016 year end result in October, Gerry Harvey said: "This year has provided substantive evidence of the value of our integrated retail, franchise, property and digital strategy."
And you'd agree to a large extent, not judging by the total top line numbers so much but look at the figures around the brand's bottom line for the year ending June 2016:
Total franchisee sales AU$5.33b (+5.3%)
Total company operated sales AU$1.80b (+11.0%)
Overall profit before tax AU$493.76m (+30.6%)
Overall profit after tax AU$348.61m (+30%)
By way of a yardstick, JB Hi-Fi's FY2016 showed more impressive overall top line growth (+8.3% to AU$3.95 billion) but less stunning growth in Gross Profit (+8.4%) and Net Profit After Tax (+11.5%).
NZ market's "record growth"
Of the individual territories, the New Zealand market saw record growth in FY2016: +29.4% in the profitability of the company-operated stores and better growth in sales revenue from the New Zealand company-operated stores to $NZ883.75 million (+10.9%).
The retail profit before tax in New Zealand was AU$68.72 million, +31.1% in New Zealand dollars .
Aided in part by the new Westgate store and the first full year contribution from the Napier and Hamilton Outlet stores,work around margins also boosted the NZ result.
Says the report: "Gross margins increased in key categories as a result of improved supplier relationships and disciplined management of floor gross margins. New Zealand management contained costs effectively, achieving solid operating leverage."
Check out the year end NZ company operated retail revenue for the last four years:
FY2016 AU$832.37m +9.3%
FY2015 AU$761.64m +8.4%
FY2014 AU$702.60m +15.7%
NZ company operated retail result before tax for the last four years:
FY2016 AU$68.72m +29.4%
FY2015 AU$53.11m +6.75%
FY2014 AU$49.75m +18.7%
For the local competition, Noel Leeming's year end sales were NZ$752 million (+13%), with Gross Profit of NZ$154.6 million and an Operating Profit of NZ$12 million (+87%).