David Jones’ profit has skyrocketed to $84 million in FY21, a year-on-year increase of 282%.

Profit was lifted by the sale of the Bourke Street men’s building and Elizabeth Street properties, totalling combined net proceeds of $624.4 million which were used to repay debt, and generated profits of $23.8 million and $19 million respectively.

David Jones also renegotiated various leases, resulting in lease exit and modification gains under IFRS 16 of A$55 million pre-tax.

Turnover and concession sales inched up 2.3% for the year, with comparable sales up 0.9%. Second half sales grew 17.1% with online sales increasing 24.4% to contribute almost one-fifth of total sales (17.3%) for the year.

Trading space was further reduced by 6.3% and sales in the Elizabeth Street flagship store were up 16.6% during the year, notwithstanding reduced footfall in the Sydney CBD.

In a statement to investors, David Jones parent company, Woolworths Holdings said: “In Australia, stronger economic fundamentals, improved consumer confidence and restrictions on international travel supported inward-focused consumption and buoyed retail spend.

“This was despite the intermittent snap lockdowns and an extended three-month lockdown in Victoria during the first half of the current year and further lockdown in the last quarter. Footfall in CBD and airport locations remain well below pre Covid-19 levels.

“The trading outlook is uncertain and will be impacted by further Covid-19 waves and resulting lockdowns and restrictions, as well as the pace of vaccination.”