Myer welcomes election result

McClintock hails lift in sentiment, urges GST reform, cautious on FY14.

Myer Holdings (MYR) chairman Paul McClintock has welcomed the election result and an improvement in consumer sentiment linked to greater political certainty, but says he remains cautious about the year ahead.

Addressing shareholders at the group's annual general meeting, he said Myer looks forward to being part of the new government's planned "constructive dialogue with business".

The retailer is well placed to capitalise on any sustained improvement in consumer sentiment, he said.

"The retail sector would clearly benefit from reform to help drive productivity and mitigate increasing costs to enable us to become more competitive in a global marketplace," Mr McClintock said.

He called for the new government to address the GST loophole on low value imports, saying this provides an unfair advantage to foreign retailers.

"The matter is urgent - jobs and much-needed state revenue are being lost every day - so I look forward to significant progress from the new government in the next twelve months," Mr McClintock said.

"I believe there is an obligation for a significant company like Myer to express a view about policy issues like this.

"It is also appropriate to defend our position when brought under unfair attack or when criticised for contributing to policy debate."

Mr McClintock said although Myer is well-placed to capitalise on its brand in the new retail environment, he remained cautious about the year ahead given the challenges of the economic outlook and consumer confidence.

The business will face increased operating costs due to major refurbishments in fiscal 2014, he said.

"As we move into fiscal 2015, we expect to benefit from improved operating leverage and stronger fundamentals as a result of the completion of major refurbishments, the online business becoming profitable, and the ongoing optimisation of our store network," he said.

Mr McClintock said the board has appointed executive recruitment firm Egon Zehnder to search for a replacement for chief executive officer Bernie Brookes, whose contract concludes in August 2014.

He said the board wants to ensure an appropriate succession plan is in place and expects to update the market by March 2014, when it releases half-year results.

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