Myer jumps 18% on a large parcel of shares changing hands

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Shares in department store chain Myer soared in late trade after a large parcel changed hands.

At the close, they were up 18.3% to $1.26.

There was no official announcement to explain the rise. However, the Australian Financial Review reported sources pointing to retail veteran Solomon Lew as a potential buyer of 81.7 million shares, about 10% of Myer.

Lew’s Solomon Premier Investments has shrugged off the retail slump, posting record first half sales, helped by strong growth in the bright and brash children’s stationery chain Smiggle.

Statutory profit after tax for the first half was flat at $71.87 million, up just 0.46%, but underlying net profit before tax was a record $100.6 million, up 9.7%. Sales were a record $588.6 million, up 7.1%. Like-for-like sales were up 2.1%.

Earlier this month, Myer returned to profit growth, on the back of restructuring, but sales are still weak.

Myer posted a 5.3% rise in net profit after tax to $62.83 million for the first half but revenue was flat, down just 0.5%, at $1.78 billion.

Sales increased by 0.3% on a comparable store basis, below analyst expectations of around 2%. And second quarter sales dropped 1.3% to $1.06 billion, down 0.5% on a comparable store basis.

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