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Premier Profits Soar To $188.2m After Pocketing Millions In JobKeeper

Retail giant Premier Investments, which operates some of Australia’s most popular clothing brands, posted a tidy pandemic-recovery profit of $188.2 million for the first-half of FY2021, soaring by 89 per cent.

The strong net profit was boosted by more than $52 million in rent relief and wage subsidies from JobKeeper.

Premier’s half-year net profit beat forecasts of around $176.3 million amid strong sales at the retail chain’s stores Peter Alexander, Just Jeans and Jay Jays.

Premier also holds an 11 per cent stake in department store Myer.

The company’s retail earnings before interest and tax also skyrocketed by 88.5 per cent to $237.8 million.

This included $22 million in rent concessions and $14 million in rent reductions, while the group benefited from $15.6 million in JobKeeper payments.

Premier is among the companies which are under scrutiny for accepting JobKeeper payments despite skyrocketing profits.

Much like embattled Harvey Norman and Accent Group – which both enjoyed profit surges while pocketing JobKeeper – Premier has not responded to calls to pay back the subsidies.

Premier has closed 51 stores across its retail group over the past year.

Outgoing CEO Mark McInnes told The Australian Financial Review it used the pandemic to reset its cost base and supply chain and the benefits of this were evident in the profit posting.

“We took the pretty brave decision to ensure we were in stock for Q2 and continued that into Q3 and Q4 as we were reopening in May and June the buying teams went to suppliers, invested in inventory, ensuring we were buying the right products in the right volumes, securing space for shipping and getting products here,” McInnes said.

“They were brave inventory investment decisions and that’s definitely paid off for us and continues to pay off for us in all brands.”

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