SYDNEY, AAP – Retailer Baby Bunting’s sales have dived more than six per cent in six weeks amid coronavirus lockdowns.

The company has kept its stores open across Australia but on Friday told the share market sales were down to start the financial year.

Chief executive Matt Spencer said the pandemic was disrupting trade but experience showed sales quickly improved once lockdowns eased.

While customers can buy clothes, toys and furniture online, they prefer buying some items in stores.

Sales improved by 16 per cent in the past financial year and helped profit soar by 76 per cent.

Baby Bunting had a full-year net profit after tax of $17.5 million.

Company leaders preferred a different measure of earnings which they said better represented the business. This measure showed profit improved by 35 per cent.

Baby Bunting has 60 stores and is aiming to have more than 100.

While some retailers have closed stores as shoppers increasingly buy online, Baby Bunting said its stores provided great returns.

The average earnings of a Baby Bunting store which has traded for more than four years is $1.6 million.

The first two New Zealand stores are due to open this financial year.

The company did not collect JobKeeper wage subsidies or rent relief in the past two financial years.

Superannuation provider AustralianSuper has the largest stake in the retail chain and owns 11 per cent of shares. Fund manager Bennelong Australian Equity Partners has the next biggest stake, nine per cent.

Shareholders are due a fully franked final dividend of 8.3 cents per share, which is better than the final payout from last year of 6.4 cents per share.

Stocks were down 4.52 per cent to $5.71 at 1540 AEST. They had fallen as low as $5.34 earlier.

The stocks traded for their highest price, $6.65, in April. The company joined the ASX in 2015.