Vita Group sees retail ICT revenue down amid COVID-19 pandemic

Vita Group sees retail ICT revenue down amid COVID-19 pandemic

Meanwhile demand for its business ICT services are holding steady

Credit: Dreamstime

Vita Group has remained resilient in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, even despite a year-on-year reduction in revenues for its network of retail Telstra stores.

Detailed in an update posted to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), Vita said its ICT ventures, through its network of Telstra retail stores and Business Technology Centres, which have remained opened due to being "essential services" according to the update, have together seen mixed results.

Its retail stores have been affected by supply issues and a reduction in foot traffic – two factors which have reduced year-on-year revenues for its retail ICT business.

Back in February, the company also flagged a temporary supply hit of Apple products in its half yearly results for 2020, resulting in "potential short term or timing risks" for the division.

Meanwhile, the group's Business Technology Centres have experienced steady demand due to the rise of working from home.

As restrictions ease and shopping centre traffic flow returns, Vita anticipates demand for products and services will return.

Overall, Vita has held strong during the economic upheaval during the pandemic, according to the update, as the group considers its balance sheet and liquidity to be strong.

In addition, it is currently carefully managing working capital, deferring capital projects not currently in progress and does not expect to need any new equity or debt financing in the short-term.

Maxine Horne, Vita Group CEO, admitted that despite the resilience, the company has not been entirely unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We went into COVID-19 with an amazing culture and team, an established BCP [business continuity plan], a strong balance sheet and a clear strategy – all of which have equipped us to deal with COVID-19 and will allow us to emerge with strength from the crisis,” Horne said.

“The recent months have provided the leadership team with the opportunity to reflect on our business, understand the impacts of COVID-19 and a potential recession, examine what’s essential and what isn't, and make the necessary changes to ensure a stronger mid to long term future. I’m buoyed by the prospect of returning to what will be ‘the new normal.’” 

Horne added that she has been “delighted” with the way her team has responded to the pandemic.

“They have shown flexibility, support and a real passion for managing our business through the challenges. I’m always impressed with our Vita peeps, but now more than ever before, I’d like to thank the team for doing an extraordinary job,” she said.

Other measures to reduce expenses have been seen in its support team with the majority of employees in this division choosing to work from home, while several have volunteered for temporary pay reductions, less hours and are taking annual leave.

Vita's skin health and wellness business meanwhile suffered a setback with temporary closures from 26 April and has has since begun to reopen these from 11 May in line with demand from strong waiting lists, with strict coronavirus mitigation policies in place.

The company also decided to exit the male athleisure market, leaving its SQDAthletica to home in on its ICT and skin care and wellness businesses, according to the update.

“Whilst significant progress has been made in establishing the brand, its contribution to the group’s total revenue is immaterial,” the group noted.

This update follows a number of measures previously taken place to manage the impact of COVID-19 on 24 March, with temporary remuneration reductions for all board and Group leadership team members, as well as the temporary suspension of Horne’s base salary.

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