UPDATE 2.20pm: Investors appear to have bought into the David Jones turnaround story despite the upmarket retailer posting a 14 per cent fall in first-half profit to $73.5 million.
The result came on falling sales of $1.003 billion in the six months to January 26, down from $1.011 billion in same period the previous year.
David Jones attributed the lower bottom line result to falling sales and spending to improve its business.
But investors saw the upside in the company's transformation plans with shares closing up 12 cents, or 4.05 per cent, at $3.08.
Chief executive Paul Zahra said the company's financial performance had been affected by challenging retail conditions and spending on its business transformation plan.
The challenging environment contributed to the fall in sales, as well as David Jones' reduction of the number of its lower price sales periods.
Electronics remained the company's worst performing division.
David Jones' transformation plan includes an improved online store, changes to its agreements with suppliers and improved customer service.
Sales from the online store in the six months to January were double those achieved in the full 2011/12 financial year, David Jones said.
But it did not say how many of its overall sales came from online.
Mr Zahra said the company was focused on improving sales, profit margins and staff productivity.
It is also looking at ways to make the most of the value of the buildings that house its flagship stores in the Sydney and Melbourne CBDs, while retaining ownership of its retail space.
David Jones says a review of that process continued and would take some time because of its complexity.The company declared a fully-franked interim dividend of 10 cents per share.
'The West Australian' is a trademark of West Australian Newspapers Limited 2013.
All rights reserved.
Select your state to see news for your area.