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Premier Investments : AGM Chairman and CEO Address to Shareholders

12/01/2021 | 05:01pm EDT

For personal use only

ASX RELEASE

2 December 2021

ASX Market Announcements Office

Australian Securities Exchange

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING - CHAIRMAN AND PREMIER RETAIL CEO

ADDRESS

Please refer to the attached Chairman's address and Premier Retail CEO's address to be delivered to shareholders at today's virtual Annual General Meeting, together with the AGM presentation.

Yours faithfully,

Marinda Meyer

Company Secretary

Premier Investments Limited

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Premier Investments Limited

ABN 64 006 727 966

Level 7, 417 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, Vic 3004

Tel: +61 3 9650 6500

For personal use only

2 December 2021

CHAIRMAN'S ADDRESS

On behalf of the board, it is a pleasure to welcome you to our Annual General Meeting ("AGM") for the 2021 financial year.

This year we have again chosen to host a virtual meeting with the objective of keeping our team, our shareholders and the wider community safe. I hope that next year we will once again have the pleasure of addressing our shareholders in person.

2021 has been an incredibly difficult year for consumers and businesses in the context of the COVID-19 health crisis. Premier is a global company and we have observed, first-hand, the impacts of the pandemic across our businesses in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, the UK, Ireland and Europe.

We've seen differing responses from government, community and consumers. We've seen the impacts on global supply chains and logistics systems stretched to their limits.

To give some context, for 52 of the 53 trading weeks during the 2021 financial year, Premier faced temporary closures across its global store network. On average, 176 stores were forced into temporary closures in any given week during the financial year resulting in 50,581 lost retail days during the financial year. To say the conditions were unprecedented is an understatement.

However, from challenge comes opportunity. And your Board believes that the challenges faced by the sector have rapidly accelerated a significant structural change in the retail industry.

In this changing environment, your company remains well placed as we:

  • Both own and operate our own critical business infrastructure; and
  • Have a strong balance sheet with significant cash reserves.

Your Directors have always focused their attention on maintaining a strong and sustainable business. Over the past ten years, Premier has made significant investments in its fully integrated online channel. Today Premier Retail has:

  • Seven distinct brands each with a strong, competitive market position;
  • A world class customer-facing website platform trading in three countries;
  • A fully integrated and owned Australian distribution centre; and
  • Significant digital capability, online technology and IT infrastructure - including

dedicated teams focused on online growth.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Premier Investments Limited ACN: 006 727 966

Level 7, 417 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, Victoria, 3004, Australia

Tel: (03) 9650 6500 Facsimile: (03) 9654 6665

For personal use only

It is in the context of this long-term strategy and significant historical investment that we were able to deliver another strong result for shareholders this year - in spite of the uncertainty and in spite of the challenges.

Your company delivered Net Profit After Tax of $271.8 million for the financial year ended 31 July 2021, up 97.3% on last year. Premier's wholly-owned retail businesses, together Premier Retail, contributed a record EBIT of $351.9 million1 to this result, up 88% on financial year 2020.

As I outlined in my Annual Report letter to shareholders, in considering the final dividend, your Board balanced the relative strength of the business with broader macroeconomic factors and the possibility of future opportunities. We declared a final fully franked dividend of 46 cents per share to be paid on 27 January 2022. This will bring total 2021 dividends to 80 cents per share, fully franked, up 14.3% on the prior year.

This result is a credit to the efforts of the entire Premier team across the globe who all faced unique challenges. However, I would especially like to acknowledge our head office staff in Melbourne who have supported the global store network flawlessly from 'the world's most locked down city'.

As announced during the year, Mark McInnes stepped down from his role following the conclusion of the 2021 financial year. Mark was an Executive Director of Premier and the CEO of Premier Retail for ten years - a long and distinguished tenure during which he guided the business to deliver record year-on-year operational and financial performance. On behalf of the Premier Board and fellow Premier shareholders, I sincerely thank Mark for his service.

During the year, the Board was delighted to announce that Richard Murray had been appointed as CEO of Premier Retail, succeeding Mark. I'm delighted to be able to introduce you to Richard today.

Richard is unquestionably one of the best retailers in Australia, having delivered significant growth, transformation and shareholder value during his career at the JB Hi-Fi Group. Richard's appointment continues Premier's track record of recruiting and retaining the best executives in the industry.

Since joining the business in September, Richard has hit the ground running. The Board and management team greatly appreciate his fresh perspective on the business and looks forward to his continued contribution. I am pleased to announce today that Richard will join the Premier Board as Executive Director following the conclusion of today's AGM. On behalf of the Board, - welcome Richard, and we look forward to your contribution to the Premier Board.

I don't propose to walk through our financial results in full today - all detail can be found in our Annual Report to shareholders. But allow me to call out some of the top-line highlights for the 2021 financial year.

Premier's five iconic Apparel Brands delivered record sales of $841.6 million, up 25.3% on financial year 2020.

Peter Alexander delivered record annual sales of $388.2 million, up 34.7% on the prior year. Peter Alexander remains a powerful, much-loved brand and a unique, design-led business.

1 Refer to the 2021 Premier Investments Limited Annual Report (page 9 of the Director's Report) for a reconciliation between underlying EBIT and statutory reported operating profit before taxation for Premier Retail.

2

For personal use only

Premier also reported online sales of $300.7 million across its brands, up 36.4% on our previous record result. The online business contributed over 20% of total Group sales for the year and has a significantly higher EBIT margin than the retail store channel.

The impact of COVID-19 was particularly severe on the Smiggle global business as families no longer felt safe shopping with children in-store and schools were closed for long periods of time. A fundamental aspect to Smiggle's success is children attending school. Pleasingly, as markets and schools have re-opened largely free of COVID-19 restrictions, Smiggle is flourishing, and we are pleased to be back and trading in those markets.

Reflecting on your company's performance for the 2021 year, there are many factors and - and indeed many talented people - that contributed to the strong result. Your Board is exceptionally pleased with the outstanding performance of each of our Brands and all team members during the extraordinary testing and challenging period we have all experienced.

But our success was in no small part a reflection of the expertise and confidence of the Board and management team to invest amid uncertainty.

Firstly, we made the strategic decision to invest in inventory across the business, ensuring we were in-stock of wanted product across our brands. With unique brands that are vertically integrated, our design, sourcing and supply chain teams worked hard and adapted to the ever- changing circumstances to deliver this outcome to the benefit of our customers.

And secondly, our wholly-owned Australian Distribution Centre allowed us to scale up our online fulfillment in response to unprecedented customer demand for ecommerce. This provided the Group with significant operating leverage. Plans have commenced to expand this facility in calendar 2022 to meet ongoing demand resulting from the accelerating industry restructure as customers increasingly choose to shop online.

Premier has always maintained a very strong balance sheet and we continued our focus on this during the pandemic. At year-end the Group had $523 million of cash on hand.

Our year-end balance sheet reflects our holding in Breville Group Limited at $271 million in line with accounting standards, with a fair market value at year-end of $1.2 billion. We are pleased with our investment in Breville and believe the brand and its management team to be world-class.

If I can now turn briefly to the current FY22 year. Over half of our retail stores have been forced into temporary government mandated closures for a significant period since the commencement of the FY22 financial year on 1 August 2021. Since that date, over 42,000 retail store trading days have been lost. At the time of Premier's FY21 results release in late September 2021, it was noted that, as a result of the government mandated shutdowns, Premier Retail global sales were down 9.5% for the first 7 weeks of FY22.

As stores have progressively re-opened in New South Wales, ACT, Victoria and across New Zealand, we have been pleased with how our product has resonated with our customers. The 3 weeks to 27 November 2021 have seen all our retail stores open for the first time this financial year, with sales for these 3 weeks up 10.1% on last year. This has meant that sales for the 17 weeks to 27 November 2021 are now down 3.5% on a comparable period last year with like-for-like sales for the half to date up 12.2%. Whilst we have some significant trading weeks still ahead, the customer reaction to our products provides us confidence for the remainder of the half.

While we acknowledge the Group is still operating in highly uncertain times, we are confident we are taking the actions we can to maintain maximum flexibility and control our destiny.

3

For personal use only

We continue to invest in inventory, and we have the very much wanted inventory on hand. We own our own brands. We own our own critical infrastructure, like our distribution centre and our group headquarters. We have a proven first-class management team. We manage our other major costs, including our rent, for maximum flexibility in a changing market.

And our strong balance sheet provides us with the flexibility to take advantage of opportunities for further business investment. We will continue to take a long-term view of the sector and invest ahead of the curve. It is these investments that have given your company great resilience and a significant competitive advantage in very uncertain times.

In closing, on behalf of the Premier Board, I sincerely thank each of our more than 9,000 team members for their dedication, professionalism and positive attitude during these unprecedented times.

To my fellow Directors - your counsel and insight from decades of experience has been and continues to be invaluable. I am incredibly grateful for the skills and dedication brought to our business at our boardroom table.

And finally, I thank all of you - our Premier shareholders - for entrusting us with your continued support and investment in Premier, and for your interest and attendance here today.

*******

4

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Disclaimer

Premier Investments Limited published this content on 01 December 2021 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 01 December 2021 22:00:16 UTC.


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