By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: The department store blues have continued into the start of 2011, with both Myer and David Jones today reporting falls in revenue compared to the same period last year. Both listed retailers are optimistic, however, that this trend will turn around, though for different reasons.

For the three months to 30 April 2011 (which is not technically the third quarter, but it is for both Myer and DJs reporting purposes) Myer’s total sales was down 2 per cent to $657 million. David Jones total sales revenue for the same period was similarly down, dropping 1.4 per cent to $412 million.

At Myer, the electrical category continues to be a struggle, with ongoing price deflation having a considerable impact on comparative sales. According to a Myer spokesperson, if the electrical categories were removed from the total result, sales would have been up almost 1 per cent compared to last year. Womenswear, menswear and cosmetics have been the strongest performers for Myer.

Click here to sign up for our FREE daily newsletter

David Jones’ sales, whilst not affected as much as Myer’s, were more heavily reduced in February and March, with colder weather and the Easter super long weekend combining to produce a resurgence in the final weeks of the reporting period.

“Trading conditions were difficult during the quarter, however, in April we experienced an improvement in retail conditions due to a later Easter and colder weather,” said David Jones CEO Paul Zahra.

For the short-to-medium term, Myer CEO Bernie Brooks is expecting condition to pick-up, with the opening of Myer’s flagship Melbourne store being well-received, the arrival of new international clothing brands and the joining of a record 4 million Myer One members.

Zahra said David Jones’ business model was strong, and the experienced management team was able to negotiate the difficult trading conditions with tight inventory and costs controls.