Myer reports quarterly sales drop

Richard Umbers, MyerMyer has reported a 2.8 per cent fall in first quarter sales to $699 million at its highly anticipated strategy day.

Comparable store sales in the 13 weeks to October 28 were down 2.1 per cent but Myer, which has been closing some of its department stores in an effort to cut costs, says sales per square metre rose 3.6 per cent.

Myer chief executive Richard Umbers said the retailer was now focused on what he indicated was a more meaningful second quarter.

“Sales during Q1 FY2018 reflect the continuation of challenging retail conditions characterised by heightened competition and subdued consumer sentiment,” Mr Umbers said on Wednesday.

“Myer remains focused on the upcoming and more significant trading periods of spring racing and Christmas.”

Myer released the figures in a brief trading update to the Australian Securities Exchange along with a briefing to update investors on its strategy.

Its largest shareholder – Solomon Lew’s Premier Investments – had repeatedly and publicly urged Myer to release its first quarter sales figures in the interest of transparency.

Umbers said online sales grew by 67.8 per cent on the previous corresponding period.

Also announced at the department store retailer’s strategy day, Myer will launch an online marketplace in a bid to extend the range of its offering and bolster its digital credentials ahead of the launch of Amazon in Australia.

“Today we signalled a heightened focus on the growth of our very successful omnichannel business as well as experiential retail to create inspiring destinations,” said Umbers.

“We also highlighted the importance of our Myer one program and the increasing use of customer data to personalise our offer, both in terms of range and services in store and through marketing activity.

“All of Myer’s metrics in digital and online and moving strongly in the right direction. Sales, profitability, click and collect take up, website traffic and conversion are all increasing. Cost of fulfillment and fulfillment times are falling. Building on the strength of the business is a key focus going forward.”

Myer also announced the acceleration of new retail concepts to be introduced across its store network including six new food partners, five upgraded food offers and 12 locations for new beauty and grooming services.

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