15 April 2020
The Weekly

David Jones has seen a 108% uptick in online sales in March, as foot traffic dwindles due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a trading update it was stated that while the online sales were strong and made up 20.3% of sales in March, overall, the department store's sales were down 19% compared to the same period in 2019.  Despite these results, DJs continues to remain open and has only closed its smaller format stores in Barangaroo in Sydney and James Street in Brisbane. David Jones has, for now, taken the decision to continue to trade in its large format stores which are cashless and able to accommodate social distancing protocols. The impact of the slowdown due to COVID-19 was seen earlier in stores that have a higher proportion of tourist trade and Asian demographic customers. The impact has subsequently become more widespread across all stores and customer segments with a significant reduction of foot traffic in March. For the first nine weeks of the second half of the financial year, sales were up 0.5% compared to the year prior.

Country Road Group however, hasn't been so fortunate. In the first two weeks of March store traffic decreased by 36% and by over 60% in the subsequent two weeks. This resulted in an overall decrease in sales of 32.3% in March versus the prior comparable period, compared to an increase of 1.7% in the preceding nine weeks to the end of February. In light of these declines and to comply with the government's social distancing measures, the Group decided to close its stores on March 28.