Sales at Myer declined almost 1 per cent in the department store’s third quarter (13 weeks to 26 April 2014) compared to the previous corresponding period, to $646.5 million, due to ongoing refurbishments at major stores interrupting trading, according to CEO Bernie Brookes.

Although total sales were down, comparable sales increased 0.24 per cent during the period, due to the closure of the Dandenong (VIC) and Elizabeth (SA) stores between these reporting periods.

“It was encouraging to achieve another quarter of comparable store sales growth, which has now been achieved in seven of the last eight quarters,” Brookes said.

“The marginal decline in total sales reflected the continued significant sales impact of the refurbishment of 3 of our top 20 stores and the commencement of a refurbishment at the Macquarie (NSW) store in February.”

Click here to sign up for our free daily newsletter

Brookes further reported that since the closure of the Elizabeth store, there has been an increase in sales at the company’s nearby Tea Tree Plaza outlet, which has benefited economies of scale. There has also been a sales lift at the flagship Melbourne CBD store, which Brookes attributes to renewed interest in the area since the arrivals of a number of new retailers. Swedish retailer H&M and Japanese company Uniqlo have recently opened Melbourne stores.

Myer further reported that small appliances was among the best performing categories during the quarter, along with cosmetics, fashion, youth and toys. There was also strong growth in online sales during the quarter; Myer reported 9 million visits to its website across the 13 weeks, where it now sells 119,000 SKUs.

“We have experienced growth with all our key [small appliance] brands,” a spokesperson said. “Food preparation is still doing well, driven by the trend in personal and super blending and mixers.”

When asked why consumers might prefer shopping for appliances at Myer, instead of a dedicated appliance retailer, the spokesperson replied, “Our Myerone loyalty program remains a strong competitive advantage for us.  This combined with our wide network of stores across Australia means that our customers can shop with confidence.”