By Patrick Avenell

David Jones Limited has recorded a slight decline in total sales for the third quarter of the 2012 financial year — down 2.9 per cent year-on-year to just under $400 million. Like-for-like sales were down 3.1 per cent compared to the corresponding 2011 period.

Although sales are still declining, this result marks a stabilising of the fall, signalling that a turnaround is possible in upcoming quarters.

CEO Paul Zahra reported that the strongest performing categories were women’s wear, accessories, beauty products and men’s wear. The best performing states were Western Australia and Queensland.

“Whilst trading conditions continued to be difficult throughout the quarter, we did experience a stabilisation in trading patterns with the rate of sales decline broadly in line with 2Q12,” Zahra wrote in his announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

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Of the topics covered in this quarterly announcement, the most interesting was David Jones’ expanded commentary on social media. The company proudly reports that it picked up an extra 21,077 Facebook fans during March 2012, taking its “average level” of fans to just over 125,000.

This drive into social media appears to be timed to encourage interest in the relaunch of David Jones ‘webstore’, which is planned to open before Christmas 2012.  David Jones reports that it has engaged Mondo Digital to write the copy and photograph products for this online venture.