1 September 2021
The Weekly

David Jones saw significant growth in fiscal 2021, with adjusted operating profits surging 282% to A$84mn for the year. Gains were fuelled by reductions in costs, markdowns and debt, improved inventory and government wage subsidies and rent relief. David Jones reported that sales grew 2.3% to A$2.1bn in the 52 weeks to June 27 2021, with l-f-l sales up 0.9% over the period and a 17.1% jump in second-half sales — after falling 17% in the same period last year. Online sales grew by 24.4%, contributing 17.3% to total sales for the year. In line with the company’s previously announced strategy to exit unproductive space, trading space was further reduced by 6.3% over the year. Sales in the retailer’s Elizabeth Street, Sydney flagship — on which a A$200mn refurbishment was completed in late 2019 — grew by 16.6% during the year, in spite of lower footfall in the city’s central business district due to COVID-19 disruptions.

In December 2020, David Jones sold the Elizabeth Street flagship for A$504.4mn with an initial 20-year leaseback agreement and further renewal options. Five months prior, the company’s Bourke Street, Melbourne men’s store was sold for A$120mn. Subsequent to the sale of the properties, David Jones repaid and cancelled all its long-term debt facilities, including A$300mn in bonds. Adjusted CRG operating profits surged 158.3% to A$155mn, on sales of A$1.05bn, up 13.5% over the period, with a 15.3% rise in like-for-like sales and second-half sales growth of 39.5%. Country Road Group’s online sales grew 30.7%, contributing 29.7% to total sales, while trading space was reduced by 2.8%. 70% of David Jones and Country Road Group stores are temporarily shuttered under lockdown orders in the states of NSW, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory — affecting some 15.