By Michelle Graff
Brisbane, Australia--Same-store sales dropped 9 percent at Michael Hill’s U.S. stores in the retailer’s recently concluded fiscal year.

For the period ending June 30, total sales in the U.S. market were down 12 percent, from $14.2 million to $12.5 million. The company posted a loss of $3.8 million, up from a loss of $2.6 million in the prior-year period.

As previously announced, Michael Hill closed one U.S. store during its fiscal year, the store in the Easton Centre in Columbus, Ohio.

The retailer also said when releasing its full-year results this week that because of the “substandard” location of its store in the Roosevelt Field mall on New York’s Long Island, it has now marked the store as “impaired” on its balance sheet, resulting in a $667,000 write-down of impaired assets and onerous lease provision.

The store remains open.

In September, Michael Hill appointed Brett Halliday, who has run the chain’s more successful Canadian business, to head the U.S. market as well.

The company said: “The board and the executive team continue to closely monitor the U.S. business as this is potentially a lucrative market for the group, if we can develop a viable model.”

Globally, Michael Hill’s same-store sales were up 2 percent while total sales rose 6 percent to AU$583 million ($461.4 million).

Net profit after tax was AU$32.6 million ($25.8 million), up 66 percent year-over-year. Gross profit was 63.5 percent.

During its fiscal year, Michael Hill opened 13 stores while closing seven under-performing locations, including the Columbus store.

The company also opened 13 Emma & Roe stores. Emma & Roe sells low-priced fashion jewelry, with an emphasis on charms; there are none in the United States.

The company had 332 stores at the end of its fiscal year, including 29 Emma & Roe stores.

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