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Online powers Premier Investments to profit despite mass store closures

Online channels accounted for nearly one-quarter of Premier Investments’ sales last year as government mandates caused stores to be shuttered.

The group, which owns and operates Jay-Jays, Dotti, Peter Alexander, Just Jeans, Smiggle, Portmans and Jacqui E, has reported an overall lift in sales of 5.2 per cent to $1.5 billion for the year, with tax-paid profit up 4.9 per cent to $285.2 million. Compared with the 2018-19 year – before the advent of the pandemic – overall sales were up 17.8 per cent and online sales by 129.5 per cent.

Online sales contributed 22.7 per cent to total sales this latest year, reaching $340.1 million, up 14.3 per cent compared to the previous year.

Despite losing 42,675 trading days in the first half due to government-mandated lockdowns, global like-for-like sales grew by 5.4 per cent.

Sleepwear brand Peter Alexander’s sales grew 11.4 per cent to $428.5 million with a strong performance recorded across all product categories. The business opened three new stores during the year and has plans to open four stores in the first half of the next financial year.

Stationery brand Smiggle’s sales rebounded as schools reopened and customers flocked to buy school stationary supplies. For the year, sales leapt 24.6 per cent to $261.2 million.

The business’ five apparel brands generated $807.9 million in sales, gaining momentum in the second half.

Group chairman Solomon Lew, described the result as “impressive” given the context of significant operational challenges including government-mandated lockdowns, global supply chain issues and Omicron disruptions.

The business says it has entered FY23 with a clean inventory position and is prepared to manage peak trading periods like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, Boxing Day and ‘Back to School’ times.

Global sales for the first seven weeks of the new financial year are up by 46.7 per cent year on year.

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