Myer in trading halt after responding to media criticism

Myer in trading halt after responding to media criticism

Shares in troubled retailer Myer (ASX: MYR) have been placed in a trading halt as it prepares its response to allegations that it breached its continuous disclosure allegations.

Myer will remain in a trading halt until Monday, and earlier on Friday it released a brief statement to the market saying it had requested the halt as it prepares its response to claims from the Australian Financial Review (AFR) about its poor financial performance. 

The brief statement says that the retailer is "well aware of its continuous disclosure obligations and confirms it is in compliance with them".

The AFR contradicted Myer's claim that it requested the halt, saying the ASX compliance unit actually forced the trading halt 45 minutes after the statement release because of Myer's "vague response" to the article which "did not address the specific information in the article".

The announcement is in response to an article from Thursday's AFR report suggesting that a disclosure threshold may have been reached by Myer's decision to stop providing quarterly sales updates, as sales had fallen significantly.

Myer's decision to stop providing quarterly sales updates has been heavily criticised by the retailer's largest shareholder Premier Investments.

The cessation of updates caused Solomon Lew and his company Premier Investments to send a number of hostile letters to the retailer, calling out the department store for keeping shareholders in the dark.

This move by Myer has caused significant tension between the company and its shareholders ahead of its AGM on Friday 30 November.

At that AGM, Myer will face up to its shareholders who have already given Myer one strike back in the 2017 AGM. If the Myer board receives a second strike there will be a motion to spill the board.

Solomon Lew has been a vocal supporter of the spill saying repeatedly that members of the board, including chairman Garry Hounsell, have no experience in retail.

Myer's sales fell 3.2 per cent in the year to July 28, slashing underlying profit by 52 per cent to $32.5 million before $541.2 million in costs and significant items.

Myer shares have fallen to 45 cents, from $1.19 the same time last year.

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