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Premier Investments Limited shares soar as profit rockets

Credit: Kira

Shares of retail heavyweight Premier Investments Limited (ASX: PMV) will be in focus today following the release of its half-year profit result this morning.

In the six-month period ended 30 January 2016, the owner of Smiggle, Peter Alexander, Just Jeans and more, reported revenue growth of 13.8% to $569.6 million and a net profit of $71.5 million, up 26% over the prior corresponding period.

Like-for-like sales growth was up 6.9%, with all brands reporting comparable growth. And despite a weaker Australian dollar, which presents challenges for most importers, the group’s gross margin expanded 1.39%. Online sales grew 47.7%.

Smiggle’s global sales rose 46.5% as its UK expansion continued. With 18 new stores opened during the period, taking the UK total to 42 stores, Premier is targeting 100 Smiggle stores in the UK by Christmas 2016. Malaysia and Hong Kong stores are expected to open in April and May.

Meanwhile, Peter Alexander reported total sales growth of 22.5% with three additional stores expected to open in the second half.

“Sales growth is strong both in store and online, proving again that we are delighting our customers across all of our brands,” Solomon Lew, Chairman of Premier Investments said. “All of our seven brands delivered positive like for like sales growth, demonstrating the strength of our customer offer in each market.”

Just Jeans, Jay Jays, Jacqui E and Dotti reported like-for-like sales growth, and Portmans achieved sales growth of 18.9%.

“The strong sales performance, our targeted capital investments and our disciplined approach to cost, labour, rents and inventory management has allowed us to post a record sales and EBIT result,” Premier Investments CEO, Mark McInnes, said. “These results are proof that the team we have in place is delivering on our strategy to rejuvenate our core brands, focus on efficiency, and drive the growth of Smiggle, Peter Alexander, and our online offer.”

Pleasingly, the company declared an interim dividend of 23 cents per share, fully franked, up from 21 cents per share in the prior corresponding period.

Looking ahead, the company is focused on growing Smiggle, Peter Alexander and its online offering, but also rejuvenating its portfolio of core brands.

Foolish takeaway

With $288.4 million of cash on its balance sheet and just $83 million of debt, Premier Investments is in a strong position to grow its popular retail brands locally and abroad. While shares do not appear cheap, investors could do worse than find a position for Premier on their watch list.

In my opinion, if prices fall it could be an ideal opportunity to pick up a quality retailer when shares are thrown out with the bathwater.

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Motley Fool Contributor Owen Raszkiewicz does not have a financial interest in any company mentioned. Owen welcomes -- and encourages -- your feedback on Google+, LinkedIn or you can follow him on Twitter @ASXinvest.

Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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