Total sales at Myer were down 15.8% for the 52 weeks to 25 July 2020, swinging the department store into a loss of $172.4 million, despite an online sales surge. This compares to net profit of $24.5 million in 2019.

Myer said the sales decline reflected widespread store closures for the majority of April and May, coupled with substantially reduced foot traffic to physical stores, particularly in CBD locations. Comparable store sales were down 3.3%.

Online growth of 61.1% to $422.5 million for the year – which accelerated in the second half growing 98.8% driven by beauty, up 218% and homewares, up 177% – wasn’t enough to keep the department store in the black.

During the second half, there were also implementation costs and individually significant items that totaled $143.8 million including staff redundancies and a charge associated with the Myer one program. Further, impairments to brand names totaled $95.9 million, in addition to value of lease right-of-use (ROU) assets of $37.1 million.

Myer CEO John King said the Customer First Plan is being adapted to the current operating environment with a number of priorities being accelerated including online and factory to customer. In store experiences are being adapted, merchandise is being refocused, property is being rationalised and overheads further reduced.

Last month, Myer announced a multi-year agreement with Australia Post to provide warehousing and online fulfilment services.

On Wednesday, Myer starting introducing Amazon Hub parcel pickup points in 21 stores for Amazon customers to pick up their deliveries and access Myer’s range of brands and services in-store.