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Here’s why Super Retail Group Ltd shares plunged 15% today

Shares of discretionary retailer, Super Retail Group Ltd (ASX:SUL), fell more than 15% today following the announcement of its half-year financial results.

For the six-month period ended 31 December 2015, the owner of Amart Sports, BCF, Rebel and more, reported revenue growth of 6% to $1,215.5 million and profit of $44.9 million, up 33.6% on the prior corresponding period.

The company’s Auto division, which includes Supercheap Auto, reported 10% profit growth over the prior corresponding period.

“The strong performance of the Auto and Sports Divisions is reflective of the work we are doing to inspire and engage our customers, through investing in store refurbishment, extending our service offering, developing our on-line channels and focusing on more tailored marketing,” Super Retail Group CEO, Peter Birtles, said.

However, the group’s Leisure business, including BCF and Ray’s Outdoors, reported a 40% fall in operating profit. The company said the result was attributable to competitive pricing, stock clearance and higher sourcing costs.

Given the recent underperformance of Ray’s Outdoors, the company incurred a $20 million impairment against its brand value.

“The Leisure Division is undertaking a significant transformation and we have been encouraged by the improved sales performance of the BCF business and the early performance of the converted Rays stores,” Mr Birtles added. “We are now focused on sustaining the sales momentum of the BCF business while also improving gross margin through optimising product range and pricing. We are also extending the trial of the new format Rays stores.”

Pleasingly, the company declared an interim dividend of 20 cents per share fully franked, payable 8 April 2016.

Looking ahead, Mr Birtles said the second half of the financial year started well. “Like for like sales growth has been circa 4% in the Auto Division, circa 12% in the Leisure Division and circa 5.5% in the Sports Division for the first eight weeks of the second half,” 

He said the challenge for the group is lifting sales and profit margins within the Leisure division. Margins are expected to be lower in the second half.

Further, the company said it will capitalise digital investment costs totalling $8 million and these will be included in the forecast capital expenditure guidance between $85 million and $100 million.

Foolish takeaway

The Super Retail share price slumped today despite a seemingly robust headline profit figure. While the company may not have met analysts’ expectations, which is particularly important for companies with high-valued shares, Fools should ask whether it is a case of management underperforming or analysts over-expecting.

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Motley Fool contributor Owen Raszkiewicz does not have a financial interest in any company mentioned. Owen welcomes -- and encourages -- your feedback on Google+, LinkedIn or you can follow him on Twitter @ASXinvest.

Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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