While highlighting that the Queensland flood had a huge impact on its operations, The Reject Shop said that it will continue to aim to achieve its 400 store target that it set out in 2007 as part of a five year strategy.

The Reject Shop managing director Chris Bryce said at the company’s annual general shareholder meeting that current retail conditions remain tough but it will continue to expand store presence, while preparing to exist stores where occupancy cost demands are unrealistic.

“As we indicated in August, we will not try to re-capture every missed sale from last year, as a result of the flood, as it would be imprudent to do so,” he said.

“We will however, continue to expand our network and we have 16 confirmed new stores this year, with a number of further opportunities still being explored for the second half. To date we have opened two new stores, as well as relocating a further store as a result of a centre redevelopment.”

In the shorter term, the company will continue to make improvements in reducing the number of high priced lines, placing greater emphasis on categories that are expected to grow and gradually retract from non-growing departments.

“In store, we continue to revamp our look and feel, with a number of initiatives trialed last year now in all stores, such as single entry checkout,” Bryce said.

“We have also commenced, a long overdue refresh of our approach to customer service, which will take time to bed down and effort to maintain, but will be a strong point of difference for us going forward.

“We have also been trialing some additional marketing in selected areas since late August, to enhance our brand awareness. This has delivered some pleasing results to date and will likely expand progressively to different regions over the coming months.”

In August, the company reported full year profit fell 31 per cent to $16.17 million. But this financial year, the sales are up 7.3 per cent on the prior year.