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Premier Investments profit up 88.9 per cent in first half

Premier Investments has seen its streak of strong results continue, with net profit up 88.9 per cent to $188.2 million during the first half of FY21.

Global sales rose 7.2 per cent to $784.6 million, while the retail conglomerate’s gross margin soared 286 basis points, driving EBIT up 88.5 per cent to $237.8 million.

Chairman Solomon Lew put it down to the “skills and dedication of [Premier’s] entire global team”.

“To have delivered these record results in a very difficult volatile environment is a truly outstanding achievement,” Lew said.

The business, which owns and operates Peter Alexander, Smiggle, and Just Group, has been under fire for months in relation to its acceptance of $15.6 million during the first round of JobKeeper while also enjoying improved sales.

On Wednesday, however, the business confirmed that it didn’t receive the second round of the stimulus measure due to those improved sales, and that it also wouldn’t be factoring in or using its JobKeeper funds for the payment of its announced 34 cents per share dividend for the first half or subsequent management bonuses.

That money was used solely to keep its stood-down staff paid while stores were shuttered, according to Premier.

During the half, Peter Alexander saw record sales to $207.7 million, growing 43.4 per cent due to a strong Christmas period powered by full-priced sales.

This performance wasn’t unique to Peter Alexander, however, with most of Premier’s apparel businesses seeing such growth: Just Jeans sales rose 27.3 per cent, JayJays’ rose 28.8 per cent, Portmans’ rose 6.6 per cent, and Dotti’s rose 8.4 per cent. Only Jacqui E saw sales decline during the half, down 2.5 per cent.

Stationery retailer Smiggle also saw growth, with like-for-like sales in Australia up 4.7 per cent and 9.2 per cent in New Zealand.

Internationally, however, 17 Smiggle locations were shuttered in the UK, with a potential 16 more to close during the second half. This was done in an effort to position the business for “maximum EBIT”, according to Premier, and remaining stores saw leases renegotiated at a significantly lower percent of sales.

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