In the three months to 31 August, sales were $670.9 million, up 7.4% from last year’s Q1, and new orders were $676.7 million, a 6.9% improvement. On an organic basis, sales and orders grew 7.7% and 7.3% respectively.
“Strong sales and order growth for the quarter were led by our North America and Retail businesses,” said CEO Andi Owen. “Consolidated sales growth, higher gross margins and well-managed operating expenses combined to drive operating margin expansion over the same quarter last year.
“While there are clear opportunities for additional improvement, the enterprise at large is executing at a very high level, and we are beginning to realise meaningful benefit from our efforts to align the direction of the global business around a common set of strategic priorities.”
Gross margin for the quarter was up 70 basis points to 36.7% while adjusted operating margin climbed 90 basis points to 9.3%. In dollar terms, adjusted operating profit was $62.3 million, a year-on-year increase of 8.4%.
At the North America division, sales were $458.4 million, 8.9% higher than last year’s Q1. Adjusted operating profit was $64.5 million, an increase of about 34%.
International Contract sales were $113.9 million, essentially flat on a constant currency basis. Adjusted operating profit was $13.3 million, up by almost 14%.
At Retail, Q1 sales were $98.6 million, year-on-year growth of 11%. The division’s Q1 adjusted operating result was a loss of $3.9 million, virtually the same as last year.
CFO Jeff Stutz provided some additional colour to the results. “We continue to navigate the global tariff picture effectively, taking action where we can in areas around pricing and supply chain, leveraging our profit-improvement initiatives and realising benefits from lower commodity costs,” he noted.
“Despite the gross margin pressures we are feeling in our Retail business, some of which are transitory and driven by our nearly complete transition to a new 620,000 sq ft (62,000 sq m) distribution facility, we delivered 70 basis points of gross margin expansion at the consolidated level over the same quarter last year. Our operating performance contributed to a significant increase in earnings per share compared to last year, exceeding the expectations that we established at the start of the quarter.”