Premier Increases Myer Stake, ‘Bitterly Disappointed’ in Retailer’s Performance

Ally Feiam By Ally Feiam | 06 Jul 2021

Premier Investments has shared its ‘bitter disappointment’ in Myer as it acquired a further 41.1 million shares at $0.40 a share. This gives it an overall effective stake of 15.77 percent. 

At the time of writing, Myer’s shares have since skyrocketed by more than ten percent (10.81 percent) and is now at the highest it has been since January 2020.

In a statement shared by Solomon Lew, the Chairman of Premier Investments, he expressed his disappointment in Myer’s ‘disastrous’ performance. “We remain bitterly disappointed by Myer’s performance which continues to be disastrous for Myer’s many shareholders, employees, suppliers and customers,” he shared. “It’s now been more than eight months since then Myer Chairman, Garry Hounsell abruptly resigned on the morning of Myer’s 2020 AGM sighting lack of key shareholder support for his re-election.”

via Nine

At the time of the replacement, Acting Chairman, JoAnne Stephenson said the business was currently in the process of finding a new Chairman. “The Board has undertaken a thorough search to find a new Chairman and the search process is progressing well, with advanced discussions underway with preferred candidates. Relevant retail skills have been a priority in the search. We will update the market as soon as it is appropriate to do so,” she said.

Lew also expressed that Premier Investments are ‘stunned’ that the Acting Chairman has not contacted Premier relating to the issues. “Neither the Acting Chairman nor any of the remaining Directors have bothered to pick up the phone to the company’s major shareholder about reconstituting Myer’s emaciated Board which is bereft of the retail experience, skills and talent required to turn the business around,” the statement read.

The Board is ‘missing in action’, said Lew, and calls for the Myer Board to resign ‘immediately’. “In a market where innovative, experienced retailers are benefitting from rapid change, Myer continues to go backwards and its Board is missing in action,” he said.

“Something has to change, and Premier has put itself in a position to make change happen. “Premier calls on the failed Myer Board to resign immediately. We will work with other shareholders to reconstitute the Myer Board with directors who have expertise across retail, property, logistics and e-commerce so that Myer can reverse its decline.”

Myer reported ‘strong growth’ in its online category in its HY21 results, which were up 71 percent to $287.6 million. Online sales made up 21 percent of total sales and remain a core focus for the business moving forward. Its total sales, however, were down 13.1 percent to $1.398 million – much of this was due to the ongoing closure of stores in 2020.

“The focus remains on profitable sales and executing the Customer First Plan, which has been adapted to respond to COVID-19 by accelerating, re-sequencing and expanding various initiatives. The strengthened balance sheet provides a solid platform for investing in our digital growth engine which represents a significant opportunity,” said John King, the CEO and Managing Director of Myer in March 2021.

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