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#COVID-19 Response Update
Added 2 months ago
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#COVID-19 Response Update
Last edited 3 months ago

21-Apr-2020:  Premier Investments Limited COVID-19 Update

Excerpts:  

Our decision to temporarily close our retail stores is consistent with the clear message reiterated by the Prime Minister that the population should only leave the house when it is absolutely necessary to go out. As the Premier of Victoria has stated, no shopping trip is worth a life. Whilst our seven brands do sell much loved discretionary products, it is irrefutable that we are not an essential retailer. 

Premier has no choice but to continue the temporary closure of our retail stores in Australia. Accordingly, our retail stores will remain closed until at least 11th of May 2020. 

This means that our existing stand down will also continue during this period. We welcome the Federal Government’s JobKeeper program in Australia and the Wage Subsidy Scheme in New Zealand and have taken urgent steps to access these subsidies for the benefit of all our eligible employees. 

As previously announced, in Australia and New Zealand, close to 70% of our stores are already in holdover or with leases expiring in 2020. These extraordinary circumstances provide Premier with maximum flexibility. Premier intends to continue not paying any rent globally for the duration of the shutdown.

Premier looks forward to opening our retail stores at the earliest possible time. Shopping centre landlords are responsible for creating a healthy and safe environment. It is incumbent on them to demonstrate and announce the actions they are taking to ensure a healthy and safe environment for our employees and customers. These health and safety measures are critical to allow non-essential retailers to start trading when restrictions are eventually eased by governments. We will work closely with shopping centre landlords to ensure that appropriate safety measures are implemented in a timely manner. 

All seven of Premier’s brands are currently trading strongly online in Australia.  Premier will continue its online trade in Australia during its temporary store closure. 

On 20 April 2020, the New Zealand Prime Minister announced that New Zealand will move from Alert Level 4 to Alert Level 3. This will mean the temporary shutdown of our stores in New Zealand will continue until at least 11 May 2020. Pleasingly though, Premier Retail looks forward to being able to start trading online in New Zealand through all its New Zealand transactional websites from 28 April 2020.

We are continuing to monitor all developments closely. Premier, with the support of all our employees, will overcome this global health pandemic and bounce back and thrive at the earliest opportunity. 

--- click on link above for more ---

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#COVID-19 Response Update
Last edited 4 months ago

26-Mar-2020:  Premier Investments Limited COVID-19 Update

PMV who own a variety of brands - including Smiggle - are temporarily closing all their retail stores in Australia from 6 pm (local time) today, 26 March 2020 (today), until 9 am (local time) Wednesday 22 April 2020 (so for 4 weeks).

"This follows similar decisions we have been forced to take in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Republic of Ireland. 
 
Regrettably, this means all employees in Australia are to be stood down, except for a small number of employees required to perform limited essential work. This means our team members will not attend work and will not be paid. We have put in place special arrangements for employees to access accrued annual and long service leave entitlements to reduce the impact over this time. 
 
Globally these closures will impact over 9,000 of our employees."

As we have seen in many other cases, PMV's SP is up on this news, not down, suggesting that the downside was already priced in.

This particular announcement has some other interesting stuff in it worth sharing:

"The CEO of Premier Retail, Mr Mark McInnes, foreshadowed the hardship this decision will bring to the entire workforce and supply chain.  Mr McInnes has voluntarily decided to work from home without pay or accessing any other entitlements for the period of the shutdown until the 22 April 2020. In addition, the entire Just Group executive team have been stood down and have agreed to work from home when required with either no pay or reduced leave entitlements.  
 
Similarly, Premier Non-Executive Directors have voluntarily decided to not receive any remuneration during this period. 
 
In Australia and New Zealand close to 70% of stores are already in holdover or with leases expiring in 2020 providing the Group with maximum flexibility. These extraordinary circumstances mean Premier intends not to pay any rent globally for the duration of the shutdown."

There's more, but I thought that part was particularly interesting. Particularly as PMV are in much better shape than a lot of other retailers.  Their last report showed that they had $100m of debt, but $200m of cash - as at 25th January 2020, plus they owned over $700m worth of Breville (BRG) shares and over $40m of Myer (MYR) shares (at 25-Jan-2020 prices).  While those BRG & MYR shares are clearly trading at much lower levels now than they were then, they had twice as much cash as debt - PLUS those shareholdings, so they have a VERY strong balance sheet and a very well placed to get through this.

 

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