By Michelle Graff
Brisbane, Australia—Same-store sales fell flat and profit tumbled for Michael Hill due, in part, to the closure of its U.S. operations and Emma & Roe business.

On Sunday, the Brisbane-based jeweler reported that operating revenue for fiscal year 2018 (ended June 30) rose 4 percent year-over-year to $575.5 million Australian dollars ($421.8 million), though same-store sales were essentially flat.

Statutory net profit after tax fell 86 percent to AU$4.6 million, with one-off costs, including the costs incurred in closing U.S. and Emma & Roe stores, materially impacting the result, the company said.

Group net profit after tax from continuing operations slid 21 percent to AU$34.8 million.

Michael Hill announced in January it was exiting the U.S. market and would be closing down its nine remaining stores, which were located in Illinois, Minnesota and New York. The company came to the United States in 2008, originally buying 17 Midwest stores from Whitehall Jewelers after it went bankrupt, but never was able to turn its U.S. operation into a profitable venture.

The Michael Hill website now includes a message informing consumers that it has “recently” closed its U.S. stores but noting that they can still shop online.

In March, the retailer made another closure announcement—it would shutter 24 of the 30 Emma & Roe charm stores it operates in Australia and New Zealand. It followed up in June to say it would close the remaining six stores.

Like Tiffany & Co. and Signet Jewelers Ltd., Michael Hill is in the middle of executing a multi-pronged turnaround plan with a heavy emphasis on improving omnichannel capabilities and increasing the amount of unique, branded product carried in its stores.

In the news release accompanying its results, CEO Phil Taylor called FY2018 one of “recalibration and repositioning” for the company, which wants to focus on its Michael Hill stores only in Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

He noted the company has “made significant progress on its strategy to reposition Michael Hill from a traditional retailer to a differentiated omnichannel brand.”

In fiscal year 2018, Michael Hill reported e-commerce sales increased by 57 percent to AU$10.3 million, but they still represented a little less than 2 percent of total sales.

The retailer also reported sales of pieces from branded collections increased from 14 percent to 18 percent of total product sales.

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