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David Jones Profits Quadruple: “We Are Very Pleased”

David Jones has enjoyed a remarkable twelve-month run, with profits almost quadrupling after a horror 2020.

David Jones’ adjusted earnings were $84 million for FY21, close to four times the $22 million the business brought in during the previous year, when it recorded a loss of $33 million, before adjustment.

$15m of these 2020 losses were due to its empty and costly food halls, with $39 million in rent relief and JobKeeper keeping the 183-year-old department store in the black.

Woolworths Holdings has since closed most of the food halls, which were running at a loss, and reduced overall floor space by 7 per cent, with aims to cut store space by 20 per cent in the next few years.

Roy Bagattini, boss of Woolworths Holdings, the company that owns David Jones is happy with the quick turnover.

“Things were looking bleak,” Bagattini told The Australian.

“It had $500m to $600m in debt. Today is a very different day for David Jones. We are very pleased that we have come as far as we have in what is a relatively short space of time.

“The last 12 months have been pivotal in setting that business up for what potentially it can accomplish. We are very optimistic about that.”

Like many in the retail space, David Jones has recovered by pivoting to online sales, and reducing floor space across the country.

“Stronger economic fundamentals, improved consumer confidence and restrictions on international travel supported inward-focused consumption and buoyed retail spend,” Woolworths said.

“This was despite the intermittent snap lockdowns across major cities and an extended three-month lockdown in the state of Victoria during the first half of the current year and a further lockdown in the last quarter. Footfall in central business districts and airport locations remains well below pre Covid-19 levels.”


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