Footwear retailer Accent Group will not hand back any of the almost $50 million it received in JobKeeper subsidies despite reporting a $20 million jump in profits for the first half of fiscal 2021.
The $1.2 billion retailer, which operates stores such as Platypus, Hype and Sketchers, made no indication it would repay the JobKeeper payments in a statement to investors after market close on Tuesday.
For the six months to the end of December, Accent received $24.5 million worth of JobKeeper payments, which is in addition to the $21 million accepted by the company across the first six months of 2020.
Of this, the retailer said only $9.6 million was a direct benefit to the business. However, a portion of the remaining $14.9 million still subsidised employment for the retailer, being used to pay workers who “did not work sufficient hours to be otherwise remunerated more than the subsidy”. Some of the JobKeeper was also used to pay workers who could not work due to government-mandated shutdowns.