The company’s appliances and whitegoods division, The Good Guys, also managed positive comparable sales growth, up 0.6 per cent despite previously struggling to grow sales.
JB Hi-Fi’s also kept its famously low cost of doing business down, shaving a further 10 basis points down to 13.9 per cent for its Australian stores.
“We are pleased to deliver positive sales and strong earnings growth in the first half of [the 2020 financial year], with sales improving throughout the half and culminating in a strong Christmas quarter,” chief executive Richard Murray said.
“In a competitive environment we remained focused on growing sales and market share in a sustainable manner whilst continuing to evolve the business.”
Despite fears over a weak retail environment and consumer concern over the spreading coronavirus in the new year, JB Hi-Fi Australia’s comparable sales growth for the month was 6 per cent, well ahead of its fairly weak comparable growth of 1.5 per cent in January last year.
New Zealand was the only dark spot for January trade, with comparable sales at the company’s 14 stores dropping 1.6 per cent, a sizable downturn when compared to the 4.1 per cent growth seen last January.
Mr Murray said while the company was pleased with January trade, much of the growth was being seen in low margin categories, and customers were preferring to buy during discounting periods.
The company revised its full-year guidance upwards, telling investors it now expects sales for the 2020 financial year to be $7.33 billion, an increase of 1.1 per cent from its previous $7.25 billion forecast.
Net profit after tax for the group is now expected to fall between $265 million to $270 million, an increase of 6.1 per cent to 8.1 per cent on last year.
Chairman Greg Richards also announced his retirement, with current board member and former Myer and David Jones executive Stephen Goddard to take his place at the end of the financial year.
An interim dividend of 99 cents, up 8.8 per cent from the 91 cents delivered last year, will be paid to shareholders on March 6.
More to come