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Myer shares soar as new strategy delivers

AAP logoAAP 17/11/2016 Trevor Chappell

Department store Myer says its five year turnaround strategy continues to deliver sales growth, and it expects to achieve profit growth this fiscal year.

"In just 12 months, so much has happened, so much has changed, so much work has been done, and pleasingly, so much progress has been made," chief executive Richard Umbers told the company's annual general meeting.

"There can be no doubt that 'New Myer' is on the move."

Investors appear to agree, with Myer shares jumping more than 14 per cent on Friday as the retailer released sales figures for the three months to October.

Sales were up 0.6 per cent from a year ago to $719 million, and comparable store sales, which strips out new store openings and other one-off events, lifted 1.6 per cent.

Myer has now achieved higher comparable sales in five consecutive quarters.

Comparable sales at Myer's flagship and premium stores rose 2.8 per cent.

"It's a creditable performance that demonstrates Myer's improving resilience as our strategy takes effect," Mr Umbers said

Myer shares gained 15 cents, or 14.4 per cent, to $1.19, recovering some of the ground lost since the retailer's disappointing annual financial results were published in August.

Chairman Paul McClintock said Myer expects earnings growth to improve ahead of sales growth in 2016/17 if there is no significant drop in consumer sentiment, as well as a return to net profit growth, even after the costs of implementing its new strategy.

Myer's new Warringah store on Sydney's northern beaches illustrates what it seeking to achieve across its store network, with a new look, better trained and motivated staff and brands that local customers wanted.

Mr Umbers said more than 150 brands have been dropped and 850 introduced or upgraded.

He said no two Myer stores are alike under its new strategy, with brands selected to cater to local shoppers and lifestyles.

It has also closed several stores in Queensland and NSW and abandoned plans for some new stores, and Mr Umbers said there may be some stores where commercial returns make it difficult to justify investment.

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