26 Nov 2012

David Jones executives forecast flat Christmas trading

2:10 pm on 26 November 2012

Executives at upmarket Australian department store David Jones are forecasting a flat Christmas trading period amid concerns over consumer sentiment.

Chief executive Paul Zahra said David Jones stores still are not seeing enough foot traffic to produce even modest sales growth, the ABC reports.

Mr Zahra said the company has planned for a flat result, with deflation of around 2 to 3%.

He said he was doing his best to bring customers back but ultimately it was not something he could control.

Despite official figures showing consumers are reluctant to spend, ABC said the UK retailer Topshop had no trouble attracting customers to its store when it opened up earlier in the year.

Given some of the success that more competitively priced stores like Topshop have experienced, Mr Zahra was asked if the board had considered giving up on the idea of being an upmarket retailer.

"We hold the premier position in the marketplace, and as a result we see the peaks and troughs of the economy," he said.

"With every trough there's a peak and we're looking forward to that peak to come."