After seven consecutive quarters of decline, David Jones is finally seeing positive results after reporting a lift in sales for the September quarter of the 2013 financial year, which is particularly good news as it draws closer to the all important Christmas period.
The company reported a 0.3 per cent lift in total sales growth. This represents total sales revenue reaching $415.6 million compared to $414.3 million that was earned during the same period last year.
No new stores were opened during the period, which resulted in like-for-like sales revenue also seeing a 0.3 per cent lift.
“We have seen a continued improvement in sales tracking quarter on quarter since [the first quarter of financial year 2012],” David Jones CEO Paul Zahra said.
“Particularly pleasing is the fact that our high margin categories (Womenswear, Menswear, Beauty, Accessories and Shoes) all delivered positive sales growth in the quarter. Our Home and Electricals categories on the other hand continued to be challenging.”
On a state-by-state basis, Western Australia, NSW and Victoria delivered positive sales growth. The company’s performance in Queensland was adversely impacted in the quarter by the Toowong Village store refurbishment.
According to Zahra, the sales increase is in line with the company’s decision to reduce the direction of its June half yearly clearance sale, as well as decreasing the duration of its October event by two weeks.
“This is consistent with our strategy to improve the profitability of sales generated by the business by reducing the length of our discount events and focusing on full margin, new season stock as well as phasing out low productivity categories and expanding high margin categories,” he said.
And the focus now? Capitalising on the ‘all-important’ give giving Christmas and clearance trading periods through its newly launched webstore, a mobile transaction site and its new magazine application, as well as its “Lower Everyday Prices” advertising campaign.
“Trading in the first couple of weeks of the second quarter is tracking broadly in line with [first quarter of 2013 financial year],” Zahra said.
“I have just completed a nationwide store review and am pleased to report that we are well prepared across our stores and our online and mobile business channels, for the all important Christmas and subsequent clearance periods.”
The company also plans to roll-out its new POS system – which was successfully piloted at three NSW stores – post the December/January clearance period and is on track to being completed by the end of July 2013.