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David Jones shows a sales lift

AAP logoAAP 25/08/2016

David Jones has reported strong sales growth of 8.4 per cent in its first year under the ownership of South African retailer Woolworths Holdings despite a flat Australian retail market.

Woolworths Holdings says the high-end retailer's comparable sales growth was well ahead of the market and it continues to roll out its higher-margin private labelled products.

David Jones' comparable sales rose seven per cent in 2015/16, compared to the previous year, even as official statistics show Australia's retail turnover has been flat with the latest figures up 0.4 per cent in the three months to the end of June.

David Jones reported a pre-tax profit of $168 million in the year to June 28, with the result included in its South African parent company's full-year profit report, which was released on Thursday.

However, Woolworths - which is unrelated to the Australian supermarket company - said David Jones' gross margin was dented by a weak Australian dollar and industry-wide markdowns on winter stock following warmer winter weather.

The Country Road Group, also owned by Woolworths and including the Country Road and Witchery apparel brands, reported sales growth of 5.5 per cent in Australia and South Africa.

Country Road's profit before tax was $95 million, down 13.6 per cent on the prior year.

Woolworths, which acquired David Jones and Country Road in 2014, has expansion plans for David Jones.

It opened its first David Jones store in New Zealand in July and will revamp its flagship Elizabeth Street store in Sydney to include a restaurant, food hall and more retail.

It will also relocate its head office staff from Sydney to Melbourne.

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