The parent company of Peter Alexander, Jay Jays and Just Jeans is reopening its stores on May 15

Just Jeans. Image: Westfield.
  • Premier Investments, the parent company of Peter Alexander, Jay Jays and Just Jeans is reopening its Australian stores from Friday May 15.
  • It comes after the company was forced to close its stores amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Premier has also seen a surge in online shopping across the group.
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Premier Investments, the parent company of retailers including Peter Alexander, Jay Jays, Just Jeans and Smiggle will be reopening its stores in Australia and New Zealand.

It comes after the group was forced to close its retail stores in March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The company plans to reopen in Australia in line with stage 1 of the federal government’s three-step plan for how coronavirus restrictions will be lifted in the coming months.

From Friday May 15, Premier will reopen its stores across New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia, Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania – except for its stores at airports and in some CBD locations. It had already reopened its stores in Queensland and Northern Territory on May 7 following their government guidelines.

The company is also reopening all its stores in New Zealand from May 14.

With the stores reopened, Premier will put safety measures in place including social distancing, frequent cleaning and encouraging staff and customers to download the COVIDSafe app.

Sales went down but online shopping went up

The store closures affected Premier, with total sales dropping 74% during the six weeks up to May 6 2020 compared to the same time last year. Global sales also fell 99%.

But Premier’s online sales soared, rising by 99%. Its biggest online brand in Australia – sleepwear giant Peter Alexander – even broke its own weekly sales records, with online sales up 295%. During the week ending May 2, the brand’s online sales alone rose 18% compared to last year’s total sales across both online and Premier’s whole 122 store network in Australia.

While an increase in online shopping has already been an identified trend at Premier, the coronavirus stepped it up significantly. “Prior to the global health crisis, customers were already increasingly electing to shop online,” Premier said in a statement. “The COVID19 pandemic has significantly increased that existing trend.”

During the closures, Premier was forced to stand down more than 9000 workers and it didn’t pay any rent globally. But with its stores reopening, it plans on paying rent at a gross percentage of sales.

Plus, the company is eligible for JobKeeper payments which it says it has passed on to its workers.

Premier chairman Solomon Lew said in a statement, “We are delighted to be making JobKeeper related payments directly to thousands of our employees to assist our teams during this health and economic crisis.”