Myer sales are down 3.5 per cent for the first quarter of the 2012 financial year to $681.4 million.

On a like-for-like basis, sales were down 5.1 per cent compared to last year.

Despite this, the department store still anticipates that sales for the full year to be flat and net profit after tax to be up to 10 per cent below last year’s NPAT of $162.7 million.

And according to chief executive Bernie Brookes, the result was in line with company expectations.

"Pleasingly, as the quarter progressed sales gradually improved against last year," he said.

Excluding rational electrical goods, total sales were down 2.7 per cent. Myer’s sales in the first quarter were driven mainly by it strongest performing categories –womenswear and youth.

“Our decision to rationalise our electrical offer continues to impact sales, however these decisions are expected to result in sales from higher margin categories as floor space is reallocated. The range rationalisation is expected to be completed by the end of the first half of the 2012 financial year,” the company said.

Bernie also said in that looking at Myer’s pre-Christmas category sale indicators, which include toys, Christmas trim and cosmetic gift packs, the company expects a relatively good Christmas where they are already up double digit from last year.

“I hope that’s a precursor to a much improved mix. We had a disappointing start to these categories last year and had a bad Christmas so I want to say that we’ve had a good start and then we hope we’ll have an improved Christmas this year,” he said.

But overall, Bernie said that if trading conditions do not deteriorate, highlighting there’ll be no floods or natural disaster-related problems, Myer will see a positive Christmas.