Household budgets under pressure, but shoppers still spend at JB Hi-Fi

Surging living costs aren’t dampening shopper enthusiasm for electronics yet, according to JB Hi-Fi’s trading quarterly update, which shows close to a 15 per cent jump in sales.

Chief executive of the consumer electronics giant Terry Smart said the company was pleased with its start to the 2023 financial year, with sales momentum continuing in the three months to September.

“In an uncertain retail environment and with household budgets under increasing pressure, customers gravitate to trusted value-driven retailers,” he said ahead of the retailer’s annual general meeting on Thursday.

Still going strong: JB Hi-Fi CEO Terry Smart.Credit:Eamon Gallagher

The first-quarter sales update revealed total sales growth at JB Hi-Fi’s Australian operations were up 14.6 per cent in the three months ended September, while growth in New Zealand was up 27.7 per cent.

The group’s whitegoods brand The Good Guys saw sales rise 12.3 per cent for the quarter, having also performed strongly in the 2022 financial year.

JB posted record sales of $9.2 billion for 2022 as tech-hungry consumers updated their phones and appliances.

Cost of living pressures are in the spotlight this week after Tuesday’s federal budget warned energy bills are set to soar. The Australian Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday reported the consumer price index lifted by 1.8 per cent in the three months to September, taking the annual rate to 7.3 per cent. The last time inflation was higher was in the June quarter of 1990 when it sat at 7.7 per cent.

Despite this, retailers have been upbeat in the lead-up to Christmas, with companies such as supermarket giant Coles, bottle shop operator Endeavour Group and apparel-retailer Premier Investments telling this masthead they believe they are well-placed to capture seasonal spending.

JB Hi-Fi shares opened 1.6 per cent stronger to $43.50 just before 10:30am.

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