With David Jones now firmly under the control of its new South African masters, investors are wondering what’s next for chief rival Myer.
Will the department store giant be able to carve out a route to profit growth or will it be pummelled by the beefed up resources of David Jones?
Or will it be subject to a takeover offer of its own?
OptionsXpress market analyst Ben Le Brun said speculation of a possible takeover had contributed to the more than 20 per cent rise in Myer’s share price since June.
“There is a belief out there that there could be an international conglomerate looking to make a play into Australia,” he said.
Myer shares are currently trading at $2.42 a share, after dropping to $2 in June as concerns about the federal budget hit consumer sentiment.
But the retailer is still well below its $4.10 float price, which has traded below since its 2009 listing.
Investors will be watching Myer’s full year results on Thursday to see if IT has been able to lift sales or profitability after disappointing first half and third quarter results.
But expectations aren’t high, with analyst forecasting a more than 20 per cent slide in earnings compared to a year ago.
Myer boss Bernie Brookes played down expectations for the second half at the company’s third quarter sales results in May due to the impact of refurbishment work at major stores and weak consumer sentiment.
But he forecast a better 2015 as the company sees the benefits of five years of work that have seen it refurbish 24 stores and exit underperforming categories like whitegoods.
Mr Le Brun said Myer could be an attractive target for an international retailer that believed it had the expertise and systems to turn it around after years of soft performances.
“If they can bring what’s worked overseas to make it work here in Australia, that would tick a few boxes,” he said.
“There is no doubt department stores in here Australia have been under pressure for at least the past couple of years.”
South African retailer Woolworths finalised its takeover of David Jones at the start of August and has plans to turn the business around.
Its plans include beefing up the department store’s use of private label products and improving its online business.