September 19, 2018 / 11:30 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Australian retailer Premier Investments gets online earnings boost

(Adds details on sales, retail environment)

Sept 20 (Reuters) - Australian retailer Premier Investments said on Thursday its annual profit rose 9.2 percent as a spike in online sales helped it shrug off weaker domestic retail conditions.

The apparel retailer, which owns fashion brands such as Just Jeans and Peter Alexander, posted underlying net profit before tax for the year ended July 28 came of A$160.3 million ($116.4 million), compared with a profit of A$146.8 million last year. The underlying net profit disregards one-off expenses.

Premier, which also has a presence in Asia and Europe, said total sales rose 8.2 percent for the year, helped largely by a 65 percent jump in online sales.

Retail global sales for the first five weeks of fiscal 2019 were up 10.2 percent on the prior year.

A push for more online and international sales has helped Premier stave off a slowdown faced by a number of its peers. Department store operator Myer, in which Premier holds a substantial stake, clocked an annual loss as it lost customers to online competitors like Amazon.com.

An international presence also allows Premier, controlled by businessman Solomon Lew, to bypass a weak domestic retail environment.

Australian consumer sentiment has been hit by a range of factors including slow wage growth, falling house prices, drought and political instability.

The company declared a final dividend of 33 cents per security, compared with 27 cents last year. ($1 = 1.3778 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Chris Reese and Stephen Coates)

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