Michael Hill International chair Emma Hill. Picture: AAP Image/Markson Sparks
Michael Hill International chair Emma Hill. Picture: AAP Image/Markson Sparks

It’s Michael Hill, but not as you know it

SHARES in jeweller Michael Hill International have hit an all-time low, as the Queensland-based company flagged a strategic shift away from heavy discounting.

Chair Emma Hill told shareholders at the company's annual general meeting in Brisbane that it had been a year of "profound change" for the business, during which the company exited its Emma and Roe and Michael Hill US operations.

"We determined that the strategic opportunity offered by these businesses no longer justified the destruction of shareholder value, distraction from our core business and depression of margin that they brought," she said.

"The board did not make these decisions lightly."

The company said same store sales for the first quarter of the financial year were down 11 per cent, which Ms Hill described as a poor performance. She said the company's move away from high frequency discount events had resulted in a "larger impact on sales than anticipated".

"That said, we are fully committed to this shift," she said. "A single weak quarter does not invalidate the need for this change.

"This is the right strategy to improve customer and employee experience, enhance brand perception, and ultimately reward our shareholders." Ms Hill also recognised the contributions of outgoing chief executive Phil Taylor.

Mr Taylor, who has been chief executive since 2016, will shortly be departing the company after more than three decades, for health reasons.

Incoming chief executive Daniel Bracken will start in the role on November 15.
Michael Hill shares closed 1¢ down at 65¢ on Wednesday.



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