Solomon Lew, chairman of parent company Premier Investments, confirmed Just Group sales for the period were up 3 per cent to $870 million, while EBIT was $84.2 million.
The company, which operates the Dotti, Just Jeans, Jay Jays, Jacqui E, Peter Alexander, Portmans and Smiggle brands had dealt with fragile consumer sentiment leading to “sluggish retail sales across the board”, Lew said.
“The overall Just Group performance was also impacted by the poor performance of the Portmans brand (pictured) as management undertook a substantial transformation process. The benefits of this transformation will significantly enhance the future profitability of the group.”
Lew also added his voice to the debate over imposing taxes on imports in the form of online sales from other countries. The key issue around the debate was not about fear of competition but about unfair competition and its consequences, he said.
“The real issue arising from unfair competition is the impact on Australian retailers, Australian jobs.”
“Australia has been targeted by international online retailers as a very lucrative market. Their costs to sell in Australia are marginal relative to their core markets. That is fine – we intend to be selling our goods internationally and enjoy the same advantage. This is overlaid however by the fact they do not pay Australian taxes or duty or collect the GST. Not only do they have an unfair price advantage but they contribute nothing to the Australian economy. Australia collects no taxes, duty, the money is sent offshore and its costs jobs.”
“Just Group has an online presence and will continue to develop its capability to be an active and highly competitive player in this space as it develops, consistent with both the market growth and the business case.”