Lovisa delivers a great result and reinstates dividend
Lovisa Holdings (ASX: LOV) – Shares in the jewellery retailer surged 19% following a bumper profit result. While revenue was down 9.8% and comparable-store sales down 4.5% for the period, the company continued its store rollout with 29 new stores built. Gross profit decreased 11.7% to $113m due to restocking. It was, however, the interim dividend of 20 cents that was best-received by investors, having been cancelled in 2020. Total online sales grew by 335% for 1H21, compared to +311% during FY20. The company said it continues to support the team and infrastructure to deliver an improved digital customer experience.
The overall message was a great result, with a much-needed dividend. Despite the COVID-19 interruptions, Lovisa bunkered down and reduced costs. While not providing guidance, Lovisa said “initial trading figures for the second half were promising, with comparable store sales up 12% per cent despite “challenging” conditions in the northern hemisphere”.
Cochlear to restart dividends
Cochlear (ASX: COH) – Shares in the hearing implants manufacturer are up almost 8% in today’s trade following a better-than-expected result. Underlying net profit was down 4% in constant currency terms with improving momentum across the first half. Statutory profit included $111m in one-off gains, after tax. The company says it has improved trading and cash flow generation which resulted in the declaration of a $1.15 per share dividend – a 60% payout of underlying net profit. This was significantly lower than the $1.60 paid at the same time last year, but after no final dividend in FY20, investors were happy to see the payout resume.
The company is in a strong capital position, with $45m in net cash. Because Cochlear’s sales generation was good, it elected to repay $24.6m in pre-tax COVID-related government assistance it received in the first half, the vast majority of which was related to JobKeeper. FY21 guidance provided for underlying net profit to fall to between $225 million‐$245 million, down 46‐59% on FY20.