IGA supermarkets owner Metcash has turned around its fortunes to report a $125.1 million first-half profit on the back of a coronavirus shopping boom.
Metcash’s bottom-line result was helped by shoppers buying food, liquor and hardware items in the six months to October 31, it said on Monday.
It had reported a net loss of $151.6 million, including write-downs, for the same period last year.
Supermarket and liquor sales each rose by more than 14 per cent as shoppers hoarded goods to cope with coronavirus lockdowns and uncertainty.
Sales of hardware jumped 20.6 per cent as consumers turned their attention to home renovation.
Metcash owns the Mitre 10, Home Timber and Hardware, and Hardings brands.
Earlier this year, the company bought a majority stake in Total Tools Holdings to capitalise on home renovation interest.
Hardware sales in the first five weeks of the second half were up 25.3 per cent, Metcash said.
Liquor sales were up 16.9 per cent, while food was up 2.4 per cent.
The company said sales momentum had continued in the first five weeks of the second half of its financial year.
Metcash chief executive Jeff Adams said a new distribution centre in South Australia would better serve strong demand expected over the Christmas period.
Shareholders will receive an interim dividend of eight cents per share, fully franked. This is more than the previous interim payout of six cents per share.
Metcash shares were higher by 9.78 per cent to $3.54 at 1454 AEDT.