Super Retail Group Ltd shares fall on trading update: What you need to know

Sporting and leisure goods retailer Super Retail Group Ltd (ASX: SUL) held its Annual General Meeting in Queensland today, while it also provided a trading update for its performance so far in financial year 2017 (FY17).

In the 16 weeks since the beginning of FY17, its Sports Retailing division, comprised of Amart Sports and Rebel, has generated sales growth of 7%, with like-for-like sales growing at an impressive 4.5%. Like-for-like growth, also referred to as same store sales growth, or SSS, excludes the impact of more recently opened stores, focusing solely on those that were open in the previous corresponding period to provide a more comparable base.

Meanwhile, its Leisure Retailing division (Rays – formerly Ray’s Outdoors – and BCF) experienced SSS growth of 6%, although total sales were up just 1.5% due to dozens of store closures, with SSS growth in its Auto Retailing division (Supercheap Auto) up 2.5%. The company said that Supercheap Auto has an opportunity to grow its market share in the second-half of the year, although investors should note that rival Autobarn – owned by Bapcor Ltd (ASX: BAP) – enjoyed like-for-like sales growth of 4.5% over what was roughly the same period.

Although each of its operating divisions have so far reported sales growth this financial year, the shares still retreated 2% after the announcements were made. This could be attributed to comments made by the group’s CEO, Mr Peter Birtles, who said group sales performance had been behind expectations, although this was offset by cost reductions and benefits from its supply chain development program.

Mr Birtles also said:

We continue to grow our network of stores across the Group. We expect to open up to 15 new stores in the Auto Division and refurbish up to 45 stores during the financial year. In the Leisure Division, we expect to open 14 new BCF stores, including the 11 converted from Ray’s Outdoors and convert nine Rays Outdoors stores to new format Rays. In the Sports Division, we expect to open 14 new stores, including five converted from Ray’s Outdoors.”

Since it first listed its shares on the ASX in 2004, Super Retail Group has generated handsome returns for investors – in the form of both capital gains and dividends which it has grown strongly over the years (41.5 cents per share in FY16, compared to 10.5 cents in FY07).

Although there is a lot to like about Super Retail Group investors do need to be conscious of the potential headwinds facing the business – and the industry as a whole. Indeed, consumers are increasingly turning to webpages to do their shopping online with a number of international sellers able to sell their products at far cheaper rates than the brands under Super Retail Group can. This has the potential to impact sales significantly over the coming years.

That said, Super Retail Group is worthy of a closer look by investors who are keen to gain exposure to the retail industry. Its shares are currently trading at $10.39, down from a 52-week high of $11.59.

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman owns shares of Bapcor. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Bapcor. 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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