Solomon Lew's fashion group shares are on a tear after a 9.1% rise in profit to $56.8 million

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Solomon Lew’s Premier Investments retail group lifted first half profit by 9.1% to $56.8 million on the back of a strong performance by its brands including Peter Alexander, Jay Jays, Portmans and Just Jeans.

Total sales for the group were up 4.8% to $490.8 million. Peter Alexander sales were up 14.6% and Smiggle saw growth of 18.9%.

The clothing group is doing better than the department stores and most big retailers. Sales at Myer are running below expectations and the retailer now expects full year profits to be weaker.

The Premier Group is also doing well online. Its online sales grew four times faster that of average Australian online fashion sales which, according to the NAB Online Retail Sales Index, grew 6.6% over the year to January.

Online sales were up 23% for the half and up 29.5% for the past 12 months. Online sales for Portmans were up 35% for the six months.

Chairman Solomon Lew said the result came despite volatile consumer confidence.

“We continue to make investments to support the potential of our key growth brands, Smiggle and Peter Alexander, both in local and overseas markets,” he said,

“We are delighted with the performance of our Smiggle UK business – today we have 19 stores trading and we plan to open a further 14 stores this calendar year.”

An interim fully frank dividend of 21 cents was declared. A special dividend of 9 cents per share fully franked was also announced.

Premier Investments is trading more than 9% higher at $12.34.

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