Myer has returned to profit for 2021 financial year despite a topsy-turvy period due to COVID-19 lockdowns.
The Australian retail giant reported net profit after tax of AU$51.7 million, compared to last year's loss of AU$172.4 million, and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation of AU$390 million, up nearly 30% from the AU$305 million reported the prior year.
The company attributed the turnaround to the 28% year-on-year increase in group online sales that reached AU$540 million during the period to 31 July 2021. This made up 20% of total group sales that tipped just over AU$2.6 million during the year.
"Despite the on again off again nature of physical retail over FY21, when combined with continued growth in the online business, we delivered solid sales growth when not impacted by lockdowns, particularly in 2H21," Myer CEO John King said.
"The sustained profitable growth in our online channel again demonstrated the benefit of our multi-channel approach to market and now represents a meaningful 20.3% of total sales. There was significant growth achieved during 1H FY21, in particular during the Black Friday four-day sale period in the lead-up to peak Christmas trade."
During the year, the company noted that investing in its online business remained a key priority under its Customer First Plan, which was launched in FY18, where at the time online sales were yet to top AU$209 million.
For FY21, Myer's investment in online growth amounted to AU$19 million. The company added capital expenditure paid was AU$32 million, and a majority of that -- AU$20 million -- was spent on its online business.
Some of the specific investments that Myer said it made to its online business during the year included upgrades to its technology stack to enable seamless interface between Myer.com and its Myer One programs, improved IT capacity to handle peak trade, and implementation of AI-powered technology to improve product sequencing and search on its online store.
"As we have consistently said over the past three years our focus has been on profitable sales, growing the online business, disciplined management of costs, cash, and inventory, space optimisation, and the deleveraging of our balance sheet. The successful execution of these, and many more strategic initiatives, has delivered solid growth across all our key metrics in FY21," King said.