Mar 21, 2017
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Premier Retail affirms Australian market dominance with earnings uptick

Mar 21, 2017

Premier Retail, part of Solomon Lew's Premier Investments group, saw an earnings uptick of almost 11% in the first half of 2017, on the back of strong growth at stationer Smiggle and loungewear brand Peter Alexander.

Yaya Deng in a campaign for Peter Alexander - Peter Alexander

Premier Investments' net profit for the 26 weeks ended January 30 inched forward 0.5% to AU$71.9 million (USD$55.59 million), particularly hurt by $3 million in legal costs incurred when the group tried to stop its former chief financial officer from taking a new job at rival Cotton On Group.

However, underlying earnings before interest and tax from Premier's retail operations rose 10.6 per cent to $93 million, said the group.

Peter Alexander's sales sailed 13.8% to $99.4 million in the half, and Smiggle sales rose 26.4% to $135 million. The stationery brand is proving a global hit with 33 new stores, including 26 in the UK and seven in Asia. Sales also rose at Just Jeans, up 5%.

However, overall group sales only rose 4.3% to $593.8 million and retail sales rose 7.1% to $589 million, with a comparable sales growth of 2.1%, down from 6.3% growth in the first half 2016. The retail arm's sales increase was hurt by sales dips at Portmans, Dotti, Jacqui E and Jay Jays.

During the period, the retailer said it had completely "renewed" the Portmans' leadership team, including the appointment of Linda Levy as the new group general manager.

The group also plans to open more Peter Alexander stores; anywhere between nine to fifteen by fiscal 2019.

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