David Jones’ total sales continue to fall with third quarter reports decline 2.9 per cent compared to the same period last year from $411.7 million to $399.8 million for the period ending 28 April 2012.

On a Like-for-Like (LFL) basis sales were down 3.1 per cent compared to third quarter in 2011 financial year. This performance reflects the absence of two weeks trading from the Claremont Quarter store (WA), which opened on 17 February 2011 (two weeks into 3Q11) and has traded strongly since opening.

On a month-by-month basis March was the strongest month largely due to the timing of Easter.

“June and July are the major contributors to sales in the fourth quarter of the 2012 financial year and given our experience last year we feel it is imperative that the promotional activity during this period be highly distinguishable from other promotional events throughout the year,” Paul Zahra, David Jones CEO, said.

“Accordingly we are making improvements to our clearance program this year and we have consciously decreased the depth, breadth and volume of promotional activity in the lead-up to clearance.”

As such, the company reaffirmed the guidance it provided in March of a decline in profit after tax for the 2012 financial year of between 35 per cent to 40 per cent compared to 2011 financial year.

The department stores best performing categories were Womenswear, Accessories, Beauty and Menswear. The Home and Electrical categories continued to be challenging.

Meanwhile the company said it continues to make progress in implementing its three point strategy where it has seen the introduction of its new brand lines; trialing its new point of sale system; grow its social media presence; and deliver approximately $30 million of cost savings over the next three years