From Maggie Beer to Rebel: Earnings season reveals the big winners of the lockdown economy

earnings season

The global pandemic has destroyed jobs and dried up entire sectors while boosting others, enriching the profits of large retailers such as Maggie Beer Holdings and Super Retail Group.

Governments shut borders and confined people to their homes to stop the spread of COVID-19 which catalysed significant changes in consumer behaviour as the home became a workplace, gym and restaurant.

This month’s profit reporting season, the period when many publicly listed companies disclose their earnings, reveals sales in home appliances, bedding, lifestyle and food products soared last financial year.

Here are five winners of the lockdown economy.

Breville

Demand for coffee machines and other home appliances helped international kitchen appliance company Breville Group record sales of nearly $1.2 billion in 2020-2021.

The company cited the shift to work from home and successful entrances in new markets including France, Portugal, Italy and Mexico as the reasons behind its success.

Jim Clayton, chief executive of Breville Group, said it had been “a fairly remarkable year for the Group”.

“Increased consumer demand, driven by the need/requirement to work from home, coupled with our continued geographic expansion outweighed logistical challenges and a weakening USD,” he said.

Super Retail Group

Super Retail Group, owner of BFC, MacPac, Rebel and Supercheap Auto, reported $3.45 billion in sales in 2020-21, a 22% increase from the previous year.

It’s no surprise online sales were up 43% to $415.6 million since 2019-2020, as consumers purchased more goods online.

Anthony Heraghty, Super Retail Group chief executive, attributed the growth to “unprecedented consumer demand” in the lifestyle and leisure categories.

Sales at Rebel increased by 15.3% to $1.20 billion after COVID-19 lockdowns lifted at-home fitness activity and the demand for fitness equipment and accessories.

Maggie Beer

Maggie Beer Holdings, the brand founded by celebrity chef Maggie Beer, reported a net profit after tax of $1.9 million in 2020-21.

It’s a significant increase from the previous year, when the business reported a loss of $14.8 million.

Net sales of the business’ gourmet food products soared 18.8% compared to 2012-2020 as lockdowns were enforced in the country’s most populated states.

The acquisition of Hampers & Gifts Australia in March 2021 also helped increase Maggie Beer sales. 

Adairs

Homewares retailer Adairs reported sales of $299.5 million in the year ending June, which was an increase of 28.5% compared to the previous year.

Despite 25% of the group’s national network of stores being closed for about 100 days in Melbourne, the business’ omni-channel model helped online sales make up 37.4% of the group’s total sales.

Adairs Limited owns Adairs and Mocka which are homewares, bedding and furniture businesses.

Domino’s

While some people confined to their homes took up home cooking projects, others relied on home delivery services during lockdown.

Domino’s, Australia’s largest pizza chain, is one of the winners of the lockdown trend to buy more takeaway food.

The global company reported a net profit after tax of $188.2 million in 2020-2021, a 29% increase from the previous year.

Nick Knight, Australia/New Zealand chief executive, said the strong performance was partly the result of opening more corporate stores where franchisees “no longer had the passion or capability to excel in this business”.

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