David Jones boss Paul Zahra has given the strongest indication yet he will remain in the job, stressing that he hasn't yet handed in his resignation.
Mr Zahra signalled his intention to resign in October 2013, but the department store chain is yet to find a replacement.
The recently announced resignation of chairman Peter Mason and two directors has fuelled investor calls for him to remain in the job.
He declined to give a definitive answer to questions about his future with the company on Thursday, but stressed that he had not handed in his resignation.
"I would like to say that I've not resigned and I'm committed to working with the board to ensure the best outcome for shareholders and the company," he said.
"That is all I'm prepared to say on this issue today."
Earlier this week, Mr Mason announced he and two directors, Steve Vamos and Leigh Clapham, would leave the company in the wake of investor concerns about controversial share purchases by Mr Vamos and Mr Clapham.
Mr Zahra's comments came after David Jones announced an almost five per cent increase in sales during the three months to January 25.
The retailer's total sales lifted 4.7 per cent to $618 million during the quarter, helped along by solid growth in its clothing, beauty and homewares divisions and the removal of poorly performing categories including CDs and DVDs and outdoor furniture.
Mr Zahra said he was heartened by the improvement in sales, which comes after several years of weakness.
"It's a real recognition of the work the team has done and it's lovely to see the hard work is paying off," he said.
But he said the company's gross profit margin had taken a hit during the December quarter due to aggressive discounting, which David Jones expects to continue in 2014.
But Mr Zahra said increased sales volumes would offset the impact of the lower margins on its first half profit, which will be reported in March.
David Jones also benefited from a sharp rise in sales from its website, which more than doubled during the quarter.
Mr Zahra said online sales now accounted for two per cent of total sales, up from just 0.2 per cent a few years ago, though still a long way from the retailer's long term target of sourcing 10 per cent of its sales online.
"It's a significant improvement but we've got a way to go," he said.
David Jones shares were down four cents at $3.10 at 1434 AEDT.