Jewellery chain Michael Hill (ASX:MHJ) impressed shareholders with its latest quarterly, but the retailer is looking ahead to the all-important Christmas trading period.

Against the prior year, group same store sales were up 11.9 per cent – to $121 million. The best sales performances were in Canada, up 16.4 per cent and New Zealand which gained 10.1 per cent.

Online sales increased 18.9 per cent even taking into account the Emma & Roe brand which has been wound up.

CEO Daniel Bracken said the company’s performance was encouraging in a challenging retail environment.

“These first quarter results are a strong foundation as we enter the all-important Christmas trading period”, he said.

“Our leadership team have been working hard to develop new ways of maintaining and growing our customer base with many initiatives to be released over the remainder of the financial year”.

Michael Hill shares gained 13.2 per cent in the ASX this morning. Thanks to this morning’s rise shares have swung into positive territory for the 2019 calendar year.


In other ASX small cap corporate news today…

98.5 per cent of Cardno (ASX:CDN) shareholders voted in favour of a demerger of its quality, testing and measurement business to be a separate ASX company — to be called Intega Group. Chairman Michael Alscher told shareholders yesterday it was the best way to achieve long term value for shareholders. He argued each company would be able to focus exclusively on their business models and growth opportunities.

The Metals X (ASX:MLX) board has responded to a requisitioning notice seeking to replace two of its directors. The board acknowledged its copper operations had underperformed but argued things were on the mend and the actions of this shareholder were ‘opportunistic and extremely disruptive’. It also argued the candidates put forward were inappropriate.

The ASX are continuing to inquire into payments platform iSignthis (ASX:ISX). The ASX was most curious about a $1 million loan advanced to Etherstack and transferred without shareholder approval – which is only allowed when dealing at ‘arms’ length’. The company claimed the relevant Corporations Act section was not applicable because ISX and Etherstack were not related entities and while they share a common director, they did not stand to personally benefit. It argued the interest rates (20 per cent) ensured they were commercial and arms’ length.

iSignthis said it had 20 customers that dealt in cryptocurrencies but none of them did initial coin offering (ICOs). It also said the majority of its customers (69 per cent) were in general e-commerce, and it had not received any regulatory investigations or actions taken against it — except for an ASIC request to open its books earlier this week.

In quarterlies today…

Tracking solution maker BlueChiip (ASX:BCT) retreated from its all time highs after its latest quarterly. It planned to scale production to 5-10 million chips per annum and announced sales receipts of $441,000 for the quarter. But overall revenues and deliveries were down and its cash balance was only $2.8 million – leading to speculation of a capital raise notwithstanding anticipated tax credits.

Investment platform Hub24 (ASX:HUB) also announced its quarterly results. Net inflows for the quarter nearly doubled, reaching $1.2 billion. It now has $14.4 billion in funds administration and is growing at the fastest rate in the industry.