DJs’ sales drop 10%, but CEO is optimistic

By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY: Like for like sales in David Jones stores across Australian dropped more than 10 per cent between January and March 2009, compared with sales over the same period last year.

In a sales statement to the ASX this morning, David Jones reported that over the third quarter (Q3) of financial year 2009 (FY09), it achieved $411.6 million in total sales, down $41.7 million. Despite this drop, David Jones CEO Mark McInnes was upbeat, saying these results were in line with company guidance.

McInnes also said that trading during April 2009 had picked up, though he was unsure if this trend would continue.

“Our performance is interesting in that we experience significant improvement in sales in April despite February and March trading in line with our guidance,” said McInnes. “It’s impossible to predict if the April trading trend will continue.”

Talking broadly about the future, McInnes said that he has faith in David Jones’ business model, and that the position of the department store during economic downturn differs considerably from that of a general retail outlet.

“We do know from experience that department stores are generally ‘first in and first out’ of a downturn and we will continue our sensible investment in service, inventory and marketing in 4Q09 including the promotion of events such as Mother’s Day…and Half Year Clearance.”

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