The billionaire owner of Smiggle is behind the ‘strategic’ Myer raid

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Billionaire Solomon Lew is behind the on-market raid on department store chain Myer.

The fashion industry veteran used his listed company Premier Investments, the operator of children’s stationery chain Smiggle, plus fashion labels Peter Alexander, Just Jeans and Portmans, to buy shares in the retailing giant.

Premier Investments Limited issued a statement saying the investment in Myer is “strategic”.

However, it does not “currently intend to make a takeover offer” for Myer.

Myer shares jumped 18% on Tuesday after a mystery buy picked up 10% of of the company.

Papers lodged to the ASX today, show Premier Investments now has 88,450,664 shares, or 10.77%, in Myer.

Today Myer shares lost a little ground, down 0.4% to $1.19, but is still up 11.7% so far this week.

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.

Premier Investments, where Lew is chairman, 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%.