Myer has reported a slide in sales over the third quarter, which it blames largely on store renovations and closures.
The company posted sales of $646.5 million for the 13 weeks to April 26, down 0.9 per cent on the same period last year.
Excluding the effect of store closures in Dandenong (Victoria) and Elizabeth (South Australia), and major refurbishments at three large stores, Myer says comparable store sales rose 0.2 per cent.
The stock market did not react well to the news, with Myer shares down 4.2 per cent to $2.08 in early trade.
The department store’s boss Bernie Brookes was keen to focus on the positive number in the report.
“It was encouraging to achieve another quarter of comparable store sales growth which has now been achieved in seven of the last eight quarters,” he observed.
Mr Brookes also highlighted the performance of Myer’s cosmetics division, which posted its eighth consecutive quarter of growth, along with the performance of brands exclusive to the department store.
Myer says its online sales are also growing, with 119,000 products now available through the website and nine million visits to the site over the quarter.
In its dominant traditional bricks and mortar format, Myer says new stores at Mount Gravatt in Queensland and Joondalup in Western Australia should boost sales when they open later this year, while several completed refurbishments should also add to growth.
Mr Brookes says the company’s flagship Melbourne CBD store will also benefit from extra trading space from a redevelopment underway, and he seems to argue it is actually benefiting from the arrival of major overseas fashion retail rivals.
“Trading at our flagship store in Melbourne has benefited from the recent openings of a number of new retailers in the Melbourne CBD, including the first stage opening of the Emporium development, particularly in the key categories of womenswear and youth,” he said.
“There has been improved customer traffic flow into the store during the third quarter.”