Michael Hill closes six stores, axes senior managers amid tough retail environment

Well-known jewellery chain Michael Hill has revealed it closed six stores in the past six months and scrapped senior management roles due to tough retail conditions.

In a trading update released by the stock market listed company, it described the six months to December 31, 2023 as a “challenging period for the business” as its profitability took a hit and is estimated to be down 45 to 39 per cent on the same period of 2022.

Of the six “underperforming” stores it closed, one was in regional WA, one in Queensland, one in Victoria, two in NSW and one in Canada.

In the statement, the company blamed economic conditions for “impacting consumer sentiment”, adding that its profit margin was affected by the inflated cost of gold and diamonds, and “aggressive competitor behaviour”, which led to a decision to “reduce operating costs, including the exit of a number of senior management roles”.

It did not reveal how many staff or which roles were affected.

Michael Hill also owns the more affordable Bevilles chain.

Michael Hill also owns the more affordable Bevilles chain.

The company achieved sales of $362.8 million during the six months to December 31, 2023, which was up 4.1 per cent on the same period of 2022.

But it revealed its gross profit for the period was expected to be between $30-33 million, which represents a fall of 45 to 39 per cent from the gross profit of $54.5 million it posted in the second half of 2022.

Earlier in 2023 the company bought the more affordable Bevilles jewellery chain, and it opened four new Bevilles stores in Australia during the past six months.

Michael Hill CEO and managing director Daniel Bracken said profit margins were hit in the second half of 2023. Picture: Richard Walker.

Michael Hill CEO and managing director Daniel Bracken said profit margins were hit in the second half of 2023. Picture: Richard Walker.

Source: news.com.au

Victims “Invested $1m in Fake Diamond Mine”

Melbourne Australia Diamond Scam

Investors were duped into handing over more than $1m to a man who claimed to own a diamond mine, say police in Australia.

He allegedly claimed to be the owner of a non-existent mine in Sierra Leone and offered his victims the opportunity to invest.

Once they paid an initial sum, he allegedly asked for equipment and various gifts for his employees – which he then sold.

One victim reportedly paid $730,000. Two others are understood to have “invested” at least $73,000 each.

A 42-year-old man from the South East Suburbs, Melbourne, has been charged with 150 deception related offences including obtaining property by deception between September 2017 to October 2021.

He’s been bailed to appear before the Melbourne Committal Court in February 2022.

Detective senior sergeant Jason Venturoni, of Victoria police, said: “Criminals involved in the deception of others are often convincing and take advantage of people’s trust to exploit others for their own financial gain.”

Source: IDEX

Michael Hill’s US Sales Fall

Michael Hill jewellers

Michael Hill’s US sales dropped in the past fiscal year as the Australia-based jeweler struggled in the key market.

Revenue from American operations slid 12% to $12.5 million, while same-store sales fell 8.5%, the retailer reported Monday.

Michael Hill has attempted to revive growth in its US network by appointing Brett Halliday — a successful head of the group’s Canada division — as head of the stateside business. However, the US stores continued to perform weakly, Michael Hill said.

“Our US business underwent a lot of change during the year including a leadership change and a new advertising direction,” the company said. “As a result, it struggled to improve performance.”

The company closed a store in Columbus, Ohio, due to poor performance, and wrote off the value of its outlet in Roosevelt Fields, New York.

Halliday “is reviewing the US business based on his learnings from the Canadian market and making adjustments to the model as required,” Michael Hill explained.

Total company revenue grew 6% to $461.8 million (AUD 583 million), driven by a stronger performance in Australia, where sales increased 4%, and Canada, where revenue leapt 18%. Sales in the retailer’s New Zealand stores slipped 0.8%. Group profit grew 67

Source: Diamonds.net