David Jones reports sales lift

First-quarter sales increase on growth in the fashion and beauty categories, but warns of challenges, particularly for electronics.

David Jones (DJS) reported a slight lift in first quarter sales on growth in the fashion and beauty categories, but warned conditions are still challenging, particularly for its electronics department.

In its first quarter results, David Jones said first quarter sales lifted 2.1% to $424.2 million, compared with $415.6 million in the previous corresponding period.

Like for like sales fell by 0.3% to $414.2 million, compared with $415.6 million in the previous corresponding period.

But the retailer said when disruption from the Canberra Centre store refurbishment was excluded, like for like sales rose 0.6%.

The retailer said good progress is being made in implementing its strategic plan, but it continues to expect trading will be challenging throughout fiscal 2014, adding that it is well placed to capitalise on any strengthening in consumer sentiment as it occurs.

Chief executive officer Paul Zahra said it was pleasing to see the company return to positive sales growth, although the group is still in the early days of the financial year.

"Our online sales increased by over 1,000 per cent in the first quarter and this business made a positive profit contribution (pre-depreciation) in its first full year of trading," Mr Zahra said.

"On 1 October 2013 our electronics business was successfully transferred to Dick Smith.

"We are working towards having the products in this category available on our webstore in time for Christmas trading."

New South Wales and Victoria were the group's strongest performing states, he said.

Mr Zahra said the retailer made good progress in implementing its strategic plan, launching a new Gucci installation in its Elizabeth St, NSW store and signing new department store exclusive brands.

During the quarter, David Jones also completed the roll-out of its productivity reports onto its point of sale (POS) system, meaning staff can access sales performance at a POS terminal.

Staff can also now access the David Jones online store at POS terminals, the group said.