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Solomon Lew threatens mass closures if landlords don't cut rents


Solomon Lew’s Premier Investments has threatened widespread store closures if landlords did not cut rents.

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The company, which owns some of Australia’s best known retail names, including Just Jeans, Portmans, Peter Alexander and Jacqui E, said its objective was not to close any stores but it had included an impairment cost in its profit result to deal with the possibility.

The company said it had demonstrated a willingness to walk away from stores with unrealistic rents that delivered unprofitable sales.

Premier and landlords have been in dispute for months over the issue with the company claiming that the downturn in foot traffic through retail centres should lead to lower rents.

Premier’s Mark McInnes said the company’s highly profitable online capability and the flexibility of its property portfolio meant the company was well placed to maximise its position in the retail restructuring that COVID-19 had imposed on the sector.

Premier’s net profit was up 29 per cent to $137.8 million and online sales were up 48 per cent to $220 million. Online also contributed 25 per cent of second half sales.

“Our record result during this global health crisis is no accident, but rather a function if our targeted strategic investments over the last decade, our high-quality culture and the commitment of our global teams together with the strong support of suppliers,” McInnes said.


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