BMTC Group, Quebec’s largest furniture, mattress and appliance retailer, recently reported sales and earnings for the fourth quarter of its latest fiscal year fell dramatically when compared to this same period in the prior year. The results for the complete fiscal year, which ended this past January 31, followed a similar pattern.
The publicly but closely-held retailer said revenue for the three months ended January 31, 2023, totalled $147.8 million, compared to $196.7 million for the same period a year earlier – a decrease of 24.8%.
In a note to shareholders, BMTC president and chief executive officer Marie-Berthe Des Groseillers, noted the downward trend in sales has continued in recent months and its expected to continue at least for the next while.
“This is partly explained by the high rate of inflation in terms of the cost of food, the cost of gas and the rise in interest rates, which has a direct impact on consumer spending,” she said. “Also, management is aware that the increase in the last two years was partly due to the fact that the company benefited from a transfer of consumer spending related to the restrictions imposed by the various levels of government due to COVID-19 pandemic, more precisely the restrictions related to travel, the closure of restaurants and all other forms of entertainment in the cultural and sporting world.
“Since these restrictions are no longer in place, consumer spending has in part transfered back to these types of spending,” she added.
Net earnings for the fourth quarter came in at $11.9 million or 36 cents per share, down from $22.6 million or 67 cents per share for the comparable period – a fall of 46.2% on a per share basis.
For the fiscal year that also ended January 31, 2023, BMTC recorded revenues of $718.0 million, a 12.4% decrease from the $819.4 million for the prior year.
Net earnings for the year amounted to $40.8 million or $1.23 per share, compared to $81.9 million or $2.43 per share – a 49.4% decline on a per share basis.
Last December, BMTC Group proceeded with a simplified vertical merger with its subsidiary Ameublements Tanguay, realigning its corporate structure to form three divisions including Brault & Martineau, EconoMax and Ameublements Tanguay. At the end of the fiscal year, BMTC operated 30 stores under those three banners. The first two operate in the Greater Montreal Area while Tanguay operates in and around Quebec City.
The company also named Jacques Tanguay, previously president of Ameublements Tanguay as chief operating officer. Charles Tanguay, previously vice-president of Tanguay, was promoted to president of Brault & Martineau, EconoMax and Tanguay.
“This restructuring allows the company to keep a single management for its three banners and thus unifying a multitude of departments that previously existed under each of the banners,” it said.
It also created a new subsidiary Le Corbusier-Concorde S.E.C., which will spearhead the development of its property at 500 boulevard Le Corbusier in the Montreal suburb of Laval into several residential rental towers. The company is currently waiting for necessary approvals from the City of Laval before proceeding with construction.
On the first day of its 2024 fiscal, BMTC sold its Montreal distribution centre for $66.5 million, which will result in an after-tax gain of $51.0 million or $1.54 per basis share. The company will remain a tenant in the 524,000 square foot facility for at least the next two years under a renewal lease.