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David Jones sees “another tough period”: Moir

David Jones storefront

David Jones-owner Woolworths Holdings expects muted spending in Australia to continue due to converging macro-economic factors impacting consumer sentiment.

The South African retail group listed the disastrous bushfire season, stagnant wage growth, heightened levels of competition and promotional activity in the market, the continued impact of its Elizabeth Street refurbishment, and the growing concerns around the COVID-19 virus (also known as coronavirus) both in terms of customer sentiment and sourcing as concerns in the short-term. 

With these factors coalescing, and online sales grow for both David Jones and fashion chain Country Road, the business is continuing to look at right sizing its store count and “unproductive space”. 

In audited half-year results on Thursday evening, David Jones reiterated the previously reported fall in comparable sales and rise in online penetration. Additionally, while turnover and concession sales rose 4.9 per cent, this led to a 0.5 per cent fall when adjusted for a shift in the Christmas week. 

Country Road also saw 0.1 per cent comparable sales growth, while total sales fell 2.5 per cent due to the impact of a bushfire-impacted trading season as well as the label’s exit from department-store rival Myer. 

“This was another tough period of trade,” said interim-CEO Ian Moir.

“Challenging economic conditions in both markets, with the additional burden of power outages in South Africa, and bushfires affecting footfall in Australia, further impacted trade.”

After stepping down as Woolworths Holdings CEO, Moir is acting temporarily as interim_CEO while the search for a permanent CEO continues.

The department store has not permanently filled the top spot since David Thomas’s shock resignation in February 2019. 

Inside Retail contacted David Jones for comment and clarification.

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