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JB Hi-Fi's Christmas Tablet Boom

By Oonagh Reidy | Wednesday | 08/01/2014

JB Hi-Fi got a huge Christmas present - mass consumer spending, while rival Harvey Norman tills did not ring as loud

JB got a huge Christmas present - massive consumer spending, while rival Harvey Norman tills didn't ring as loud as its rival. 

According to Citi analyst Craig Woolford, JB HiFi, did the best out of all retailers following a "modest" boost in overall consumer spending over the Christmas period.

David Jones and Harvey Norman were the other main beneficiaries of heightened consumer spending in Q4 2013.
''We expect sales trends accelerated for most discretionary retailers during the December quarter,'' said Woolford. 

'However, the acceleration is "modest" he said, adding "better than the previous three years but by no means a boom".

JB sales lifted 3.8% in its December quarter, Citi predicts, on the back of massive demand for iPads and lower cost Android tablets and mobiles.

However, Harvey Norman failed to match JB's success on the mobile tabs front, but were strong on small appliances. If Citi estimates are correct, JB could be on course for a $92m profit for H1 2014 - a considerable rise from the same time a year ago, suggesting retail is firmly back on track, something JB HiFi's and other retailers recent financials has pointed towards. 

Citi expect the strongest performing category over Christmas was tablets. 

"The drop in price points and expansion of choice made tablets popular gifts again in 2013. JB HiFi is very well placed in the tablet category, much more so than Harvey Norman." 

Analysts predict Harvey Norman sales rose 3.1%, and could record $201.3 million profit for the final quarter of last year.  

"I think Harvey Norman would have done well with small appliances but they just don't have the width of range in tablets (that JB HiFi has) and tend not to promote that category as much," Woolford said. 

Tablet demand is also coming off a pretty high base from last year.

However, as electronics enjoyed a mini boom this Christmas, ladies fashion suffered with fashion retailers performance looking shaky. 

Non-food retailing only grew by 0.9 per cent in calendar 2013, the slowest over the past four years.

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