David Jones expects that it will be a rough Christmas after experiencing a “dramatic deterioration” in consumer confidence in the 2011 calendar year.

Speaking at the department store’s AGM, company CEO Paul Zahra indicated that based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics chart, household savings increased by more than 50 per cent from the December 2009 quarter to the March 2011 quarter with these factors directly impacting its trading and financial performance.

This is already evident with the company recently reporting an 11 per cent drop for its first quarter sales for the 2012 financial year.

In preparation for the Christmas period, the company has been engaged in implementing several changes to the business over the last 12 months including extending trading hours, increasing its product size, investing in improving its customer service offering and rolling out its online business.

“Whilst we are building future profitable revenue streams for our company, we are also highly focussed on the upcoming Christmas quarter and meeting all the challenges that the macro environment will throw at us,” Zahra said.

“In fact, I have just returned from a nationwide 36 store review. I have personally met with each store manager, sales manager and the key frontline team members and seen all their plans for this Christmas. Our stores, offers and staff have never been better.”

But while it expects a difficult Christmas, Zahra reassured that despite the short-term outlook, “the cycle will turn”.