Michael Hill reports record profit

The company now has extensive businesses in both Australia and Canada.

Overall Michael Hill International reported a record tax paid profit of $25.23m in the 12 months ended June 30, up 20 percent from $21.02 m last year.

In the midst of an economic downturn in New Zealand and as a credit crunch engulfs the world the vendor of affordable jewels is relatively upbeat.

The directors remained confident in the continued growth and profitability of the group, chairman Michael Hill said.

The man who built a successful business from a shop in Whangarei said there was no change in the group's philosophy of controlled profitable growth.

New stores were being evaluated for all three countries the group operated in.

The return on average shareholder funds was 30.9 percent.

The company is paying a 2c a share final dividend, taking dividends for the year to 3.2c a share. The final dividend is payable on October 13 to shareholders on the register on October 3.

The same store sales during the 12 months decreased by 2.5 percent in New Zealand and new stores were opened in Upper Hutt and South City in Christchurch.

The Australian retail segment increased its revenue by 9.4 percent and recorded a 17.7 percent increase in EBIT.

Same store sales in Australia increased by 0.1 percent in the twelve months.

The company entered the Ontario market in East Canada in July 2007 and established a separate retail management team to manage this market.

This strategy has added to infrastructure costs to the Canadian operation in the short term but has been an effective way of setting up in a large market. The five stores opened in Ontario during the twelve months and did not contribute fully for the period.

The existing West Canada operation experienced solid growth for the twelve months.