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David Jones parent flags asset impairments across group

Image of Bourke Street Mall
David Jones’ Victorian sales fell 76 per cent during the first 20 weeks of the financial year.
Image of Bourke Street Mall

David Jones parent Woolworths Holdings has declared asset impairments in its store fleet, due to the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic across its operating markets. 

Sales at the Australian department store chain fell 19 per cent in March, and Woolworths Holdings warned that trading conditions group-wide had continued to suffer.

“Covid-19 had a significant impact on the performance of the group in the second half of the financial year, and it is expected to do so for at least the remainder of the calendar year given the fluid and challenging environment,” Woolworths Holdings said in a statement on the Johannesburg stock exchange.

“This necessitated an assessment of the carrying value of assets [which consequently] has been impaired.”

Woolworths Holdings didn’t specify which of its businesses would be impacted.

Group chief executive Roy Bagattini said in May, however, that David Jones would be seeing an accelerated restructure of its store network and that discussions with landlords are already underway via a partnership with UBS. 

“Notwithstanding the significant challenges we currently face as a business, we are well placed to respond rapidly and effectively to changing customer dynamics and capture the market opportunities that arise [and] we remain focused on the implementation of the strategic initiatives that will address the current and emerging needs of all our stakeholders,” Bagattini said.

In July the business also reiterated its plan to further hedge its bets with a push into the convenience sector, with its high-end David Jones Food sites set to open in 21 new locations by the end of the calendar year.

“We are excited about the next phase of the rollout and the opportunity to share our quality offering with even more customers in Victoria and New South Wales,” said David Jones Food managing director Pieter de Wet.

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