Smiggle tipped to power Premier profits

Heavy discounting in clothing stores and weak consumer spending are expected to weigh on Solomon Lew’s retail empire, Premier Investments, when the company unveils its full-year results on Monday.

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But the group’s star brands, children’s stationery chain Smiggle and pyjamas chain Peter Alexander, are expected to have continued strong underlying earnings growth for 2016/17.

Analysts at Citi say poor winter fashion sales across the retail sector – the result of an uninspiring, predominantly black and white women’s fashion range in familiar styles that left shoppers unimpressed – will weigh on Premier’s apparel brands.

Portmans, Jacqui E, Dotti, Jay Jays and Just Jeans are also expected to be affected by weak consumer spending and aggressive discounting in women’s fashion.

“We expect sales per store growth will be weakest for Jacqui E and Portmans, down four per cent and 4.6 per cent, respectively,” the report said.

And while a weaker pound is expected to impact Smiggle UK’s earnings, the analysts have forecast strong underlying earnings growth to continue for Smiggle and Peter Alexander.

They have forecast Premier’s total annual earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to rise three per cent to $130 million compared to a year ago.

Citi has forecast Smiggle and Peter Alexander to contribute $420 million in sales – almost 40 per cent of Premier’s total group sales and 60 per cent of the group’s earnings.

Premier’s share price could rally if the group announces further global expansion plans for both brands, the analysts also noted.

Smiggle’s total global sales jumped 26 per cent to $135 million and Peter Alexander’s sales rose 13.8 per cent to $99 million in the first half of 2017.

The group’s half year net profit was up 0.5 per cent to $71.9 million.