Major retailer reveals sales boom
Premier Investments says it has recovered from the financial onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic, flagging record trading volumes in the recent Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
At the company's annual general meeting on Friday, chairman Solomon Lew said online sales for the first 18 weeks of the current financial year were tracking 70 per cent higher than the previous corresponding period.
The Melbourne billionaire also flagged the retail conglomerate, which owns popular brands Peter Alexander, Smiggle, Just Jeans and Jay Jays, has returned to full employment across its operations.
"Looking ahead, we are very optimistic," Mr Lew said.
"Together with the reopening of borders in Australia and the recent reopening of our stores in England gives us reason to be optimistic during this all-important period."
Premier said it was optimistic it could capitalise on the growing number of customers shifting to online channels.
At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Premier stood down the majority of its staff following lockdown measures that forced retail shops to remain closed.
At the peak of the lockdown period, Premier's retail store sales plummeted 78.4 per cent compared with the previous period, recording total global sales of $131.1 million between March 11 and May 15.
"The first half of 2020 saw Premier trading through Brexit uncertainty in the United Kingdom, protests in Hong Kong, devastating bushfires and floods in Australia and a continuing fall in the Australian dollar, all before we had to contend with the global pandemic," Mr Lew said.
"During the second half, global trading was severely impacted by COVID-19, but the Premier retail team proved to be resilient in the face of adversity. We continued our performance of delivering year on-year record financial results while maintaining the security of a strong balance sheet."
For the 2020 financial year, Premier delivered a net profit after tax of $137.8 million, a 29 per cent jump on 2019. It also reported an 11.9 per cent increase in earnings before interest and tax at $187.2 million.
Mr Lew said larger online sales in brands such as Peter Alexander led to higher than expected EBIT margins for the year.
Originally published as Major retailer reveals sales boom