Premier Investments, which owns key retail chains Smiggle, Peter Alexander, Just Jeans and Portmans, has beaten expectations to post a soaring profit.
Net profit for the 27 weeks to the end of January, which included the hardest period for the retail sector of coronavirus pandemic, jumped 88.9 per cent to $188 million.
Underlying earnings before interest and tax rose by a similar amount to $238 million, outpacing the top of Premier’s own guidance range by $5 million.
“To have delivered these record results in a very difficult and volatile environment is a truly outstanding achievement,” chairman Solomon Lew said on Wednesday.
During the first half, many of the group’s retail stores were shut or restricted due to government health orders imposed to limit the spread of COVID-19.
But CEO Mark McInnes said the company had taken a punt on increasing its inventory ahead of the key summer Black Friday, Christmas and January sales.
“This decision ensured we were in-stock to deliver significantly higher sales and gross margin,” he said in a statement.
“Those same inventory investments and in-stock strategies have continued” into the second half of 2020/21, with sales already tracking 32 per cent higher in the first seven weeks.
Premier’s online sales also exploded during the half-year by 61 per cent, making up 20 per cent of all sales.
Its best performing brand was Peter Alexander, which sells sleep and home wear for adults and children, which delivered record sales of $208 million.
Premier will pay an interim dividend of 34 cents, in line with the previous corresponding period.