Evan Lucas, Research Analyst, IG

Myer released its first-half figures before the bell today, and on first blush, expect the retailer to be back in style.

After several weak retail sales figures over the past few months, Myer has managed to hold key numbers compared to the corresponding levels and has beaten estimates.

First-half group sale were up 1.7% to $1.732 billion – that’s a $32 million improvement on last year and in-line with expectations. The key figure is net profit, which actually beat the corresponding period by 0.7% at $87.9 and smashed estimates; Goldman Sachs had expected a 10% drop here.  It had also anticipated a 10% drop in earnings per share which managed to hold at the previous quarter levels of 15 cents – a good result for shareholders.

As we saw in the February earnings season, dividend growth was paramount for the share price, and Myer hasn’t been able to add to its dividend. However, it has maintained the 10 cent fully-franked credit despite estimates expecting a two cent fall here. Investors will see this as another positive.

On face value this is a stellar result considering the conditions Myer has been trading in, and it is intriguing that the company has not provided guidance.

Guidance was also a major stock mover in earnings season as it gave investors a gauge to compare the company. However, considering the choppy nature of retail currently, this is a savvy move by Bernie Brooks as it will mean investors will have to base investment decisions on historical figures and broker estimates.

With brick and mortar retailers looking for any form of a leg up considering how shorted they are, watch for this result to see Myer and its peers legging up as shorts unwind.