Solomon Lew's Premier Investments (ASX: PMV) almost doubled its profit to $271.8 million in FY21, as customers flocked to its stores worldwide with record sales for its online division and sleepwear retail chain Peter Alexander.
The result was also aided by a strong performance from kitchen appliance company Breville (ASX: BRG), in which Premier owns around $1.2 billion worth of shares representing more than a quarter of the company.
Premier Retail - owner of brands such as Peter Alexander, Portmans, Smiggle, Jacqui E, Dotti, Jay Jays and Just Jeans - saw its sales rise by 18.7 per cent to reach $1.4 billion,.
A major portion of the increase came from a $100 million jump in sales for Peter Alexander, now accounting for 27 per cent of Premier Retail's sales.
The company highlights the continued involvement of Peter Alexander as founder and creative director, in collaboration with a strong team under the leadership of Judy Coomber, has allowed the brand to maintain the design lead, look, feel and consistency of the much-loved brand heritage.
The group's five apparel brands also delivered record sales of $841.6 million, up 25.3 per cent on FY20.
At the same time the group saw an $80.3 million rise in online sales, supported by a strategic decision in 2013 to invest in Premier's own Australian distribution centre which is due for an expansion next calendar year to meet ongoing demand as customers increasingly choose to shop online.
The closure of schools for long periods of time had a negative impact on the group's Smiggle Global business due to COVID-19, but the brand appears to be bouncing back as restrictions ease in markets such as the UK, Ireland and the Middle East.
"Throughout this devastating COVID-19 global health crisis, our absolute priority has and continues to be the safety and wellbeing of all our teams, especially our store teams, and customers," says Premier Investments chairman Solomon Lew.
"For 52 of the 53 trading weeks during the 2021 financial year, Premier faced temporary store closures across our global store network due to government mandated closures.
"On average, 176 stores were forced into temporary closures in any given week during the year. This resulted in 50,581 lost retail store trading days during FY21."
Despite these disruptions, the company has announced record results, described by Lew as testament to the skills and dedication of the entire global team.
"To have delivered these record results in a very difficult and volatile environment is a truly outstanding achievement," he says.
"Premier remains optimistic about the all-important second quarter of FY22 as the vaccine rollout progresses and the economy re-opens.
"Premier Retail has again made the strategic decision to invest in inventory and we have the appropriate supply chains to support this decision and ensure we are in stock of wanted product."
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