1 Jun 2012

Australian customers still gloomy - retailer

10:59 am on 1 June 2012

Australian retailer David Jones says consumers remain gloomy, despite sales conditions steadying since the eurozone's debt problems sparked a slowdown in spending last year.

The company announced a fall in same-store sales of 3.1% in the three months to 28 April while total sales, including those at new stores, fell 2.9% in the period.

However, chief executive Paul Zahra says sales are no longer as volatile as they were late last year.

"The last quarter we're still in negative territory, but we're not seeing the ups and downs by day that we were seeing," he said.

Last week, Myer cut its profit guidance after posting a fall of 2.1% in its third quarter sales, which it blamed on a warm autumn and ongoing consumer caution.

Figures issued on Wednesday by the Bureau of Statistics showed retail turnover fell 0.2% in April, with declines in spending at department and clothing stores among major contributors to the slip for the month.

Mr Zahra believes consumers remain wary and conditions are unlikely to improve.

David Jones affirmed a full-year profit guidance issued in March. The ABC reports earnings expected to slide between 35% - 40% this financial year compared with the previous year.