By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY: While economists are predicting more gloom and many retailers expecting falling profits in 2009, David Jones is talking up its fortunes, predicting $200 million more sales next year with the announcement of three new stores and three store refurbishments.

The news comes with David Jones’ announcement to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) today that it has entered into what it calls “a multi-faceted property agreement with a number of landlords”.

The landlords include Westfield, AMP Managed Funds, Dexus and APPF and the three shopping centres that David Jones will open new stores in are: Pacific Fair in Qld (expected to open in late 2011, Macquarie in NSW (expected to open mid-2011) and Whitford in WA (expected to open in early 2012).

David Jones says that each of these stores are in high-value locations and according to the statement from David Jones CEO, Mark McInnes, the “property agreement is a milestone achievement for our company”.

McInnes stated that the financial benefits of the new stores will start to flow through to shareholders in 2013.

“It delivers enormous shareholder value in the form of an additional 40,000 square metres of selling space to our store portfolio (10 per cent increase)… approximately $200 million of additional sales (10 per cent increase)… and approximately $26 million of extra store contribution,” McInnes stated.

In addition, David Jones plans to refurbish its existing stores at Kotara (NSW), Marion (SA) and Karrinyup (WA).