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Premier shutters all stores at Peter Alexander, Just Jeans, Portmans, Smiggle, Jay Jays, Dotti

Retail investor Premier Investments (ASX: PMV) will temporarily close all retail stores from 6pm (local time) tonight, leaving thousands of employees affected.

Retail investor Premier Investments (ASX: PMV) will temporarily close all retail stores from 6pm (local time) tonight, leaving thousands of employees affected.

The impact of the store closures will mean more than 9,000 employees in Premier Investments retail portfolio will be stood down.

Premier Investments owns a number of prominent Australian retail brands including The Just Group, Jay Jays, Just Jeans, Portmans, Jacqui E, Peter Alexander, Dotti, and Smiggle.

A small number of employees will continue to work to perform limited essential work, and according to the company's latest financial figures it has approximately $199.8 million in cash to weather the storm.

In Australia and New Zealand close to 70 per cent of Premier's stores are already in holdover or with leases expiring in 2020, giving the group a great deal of flexibility. 

The company has put in place special arrangements for employees to access accrued annual leave and long service leave entitlements to reduce the impact of closures over time, but the affected employees will not be paid during this period.

CEO of Premier Investments Mark McInnes (pictured left with Premier Investments chairman Solomon Lew) has voluntarily decided to work from home without pay or accessing any other entitlements for the period of the shutdown until 22 April 2020.

Additionally, the entire Just Group executive team have been stood down and have agreed to work from home when required with either no pay or reduced leave entitlements.

Premier's non-executive directors will also not receive any remuneration during this period.

For the duration of the shutdown Premier says it intends to not pay rent globally for the duration of the shutdown. This is because in Australia and New Zealand close to 70 per cent of stores are already in holdover or with leases expiring in 2020, providing the group with maximum flexibility.

At a glance:

  • Premier Investments will close all retail stores. This includes The Just Group, Jay Jays, Just Jeans, Portmans, Jacqui E, Peter Alexander, Dotti, and Smiggle.
  • 9,000 employees will be stood down
  • CEO Mark McInnes has voluntarily decided to without pay or accessing any other entitlements for the period of the shutdown until 22 April 2020
  • Just Group executive team have been stood down and have agreed to work when required with either no pay or reduced leave entitlements
  • The company intends to not pay rent globally for the duration of the shutdown
  • The company says it is in a strong position to ride out the Covid-19 shutdown, with a strong balance sheet with minimal debt and a strong cash position

"This is the hardest decision ever made by Premier our team are our family and we want to do everything we can to keep them employed, but we believe that it is necessary and the right decision for them, their families, our customers, and the country," says Premier Investments.

"Premier would like to thank its team members and loyal customers for their understanding and patience in relation to this difficult decision."

The company says it is in a strong position to ride out the Covid-19 shutdown, with a strong balance sheet with minimal debt and a strong cash position, seven distinctive brands that delivered a record 1H20 result, and an experienced management team and board.

"Premier's brands and company are strong and with the support of all our employees we will overcome this global health pandemic and bounce back and thrive at the earliest opportunity," says Premier Investments.

Updated at 11:46AM AEDT on 26 March 2020.

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