Finance Finance News Solomon Lew’s Premier Investments bucks retail gloom

Solomon Lew’s Premier Investments bucks retail gloom

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Billionaire retailer Solomon Lew’s Premier Investments group has reported a rise in half-year profit and boosted its dividend, fuelled by higher sales in all of its brands.

Premier Investments, which owns brands including stationary company Smiggle and the fashion retailers Just Jeans and Portmans, posted a net profit of $52.1 million for the first half of the financial year, up more than 12 per cent on the same period the year before.

The company says total sales rose by 5.3 per cent to $468.4 million, and sales at continuing operations rose by 4.4 per cent, driven by “solid” growth for Peter Alexander, Smiggle, Dotti, Portmans, Jacqui E and Just Jeans.

The jeans brand Jay Jays managed to record positive growth in the second quarter of the year, Premier says.

The board has increased the interim dividend to 20 cents a share, fully franked, reflecting the strength of the company’s balance sheet, says chairman Solomon Lew.

“We continue to focus on growing shareholder wealth by optimising Premier’s current business investments and seeking new opportunities,” Mr Lew said.

“We were pleased to open our first Smiggle UK store at Stratford last month and we expect to have a further 8 to 10 new stores operating in the UK by July 2014.

“We also expanded our Peter Alexander network with five new stores and commenced our concession store operations in Myer in February.”

Premier Investments shares have rallied on the result, rising 7 per cent to $8.61 at 11:10am (AEDT).