Hard times are ahead for David Jones as it reports that total sales for the fourth quarter of the 2011 calendar is $462.1 million.

This is a decline of 10 per cent on like-for-like (LFL) calendar adjusted weeks basis and a 10.3 per cent on total sales calendar adjusted week basis.

On a statutory basis the decline in fourth quarter was 15.9 per cent from $549.6 million in the corresponding period last year on a total sales basis and it is down 15.7 per cent on an LFL sales basis.

In terms of the full year, total sales for 2011 financial year were $1.958 billion a decline of 3.2 per cent on an LFL calendar adjusted weeks basis and down 3.4 per cent on a total sales calendar adjusted weeks basis.

David Jones CEO Paul Zahra describes trading conditions for the early days of the first quarter of the 2012 financial year as “very challenging”

"We believe that given current trading conditions and the fact that household saving levels are higher than during the GFC it is important to invest in our business with initiatives that will entice consumers to shop with us. In late July we announced the introduction of 60 exciting new brands into our business and last week we unveiled our new Brand campaign as well as the national launch of our new Personal Shopping Service,” he said.

"We are progressing well with our new Point of Sale System. We are currently tendering for a new IT solution to support our multi-channel strategy and to upgrade and improve our online offering.”

Sales performance trends were similar across all sates, categories and demographics although the company’s Home Entertainment & Electrical category was hardest hit by the impact of deflation.

As a result, the company has reaffirmed its profit after tax guidance for the 2011 financial year of 0.5 per cent to -2 per cent. Meanwhile, it is expects its first half profit after tax guidance for 2012 financial year to be -15 to -20 per cent.

“We are facing an extremely difficult trading environment. Having said that we have a strong business model and a clear business strategy, we have a strong balance sheet, good cashflows, the best national and international brand portfolio in Australia,” he said.