Gross margin dollars were +5.2% with the overall gross margin percentage up from 40.58% to 40.93%.
Online is now almost 9% of total Group sales, it was also reported, with more to come from a new online platform which is due by the end of FY2018.
Rod Duke, Group MD, says: “Despite the ongoing competitiveness of the retail environment and increasing negative economic indicators testing consumer confidence, overall we are satisfied with the record sales and profit achieved for the first six months."
For the half, homeware sales were +4.6% at $186.7 million while Rebel Sports' sales were +3.85% at $106.50 million.
Same store homeware sales however were +2.3% and +2.8% for sporting goods, both well down on the same period last year (see the H1 FY2017 numbers here).
Rod Duke also raised a flag around the "uncertain" economic outlook for the second half of the year, with a number of key factors that would "test retailers’ ability to maintain margins".
In terms of the store network, there are further plans for Briscoes and Rebel Sport stores at Silverdale, north of Auckland, the Briscoes Homeware store at Northlands in Christchurch will relocate to the new North Link Retail Centre at Papanui, alongside a new Rebel Sport store, and new Briscoes and Rebel Sport stores in Mt Roskill, Auckland are due to open by the end of 2019.
As already indicated, Briscoe Group's head office in Taylors Road, Auckland, is to be relocated by September next year and the Taylors Road Briscoes will be temporarily relocated to enable a complete rebuild of the store, which should be open for trading in early 2020.