Zara’s Sales Fall as International Retailers Suffer - “Worst is Over for Department Stores”

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By Athena Yenko | June 18, 2014 2:10 PM EST

Zara's earnings fell in 2014 as revealed by Spanish clothing giant Inditex in its first fall in quarterly earnings report.

International online retailers' Australian earnings are also suffering while local department stores come to blows with "omni-channel" strategies.

With this, Myer chief executive Bernie Brookes said that the worst is over for department stores.  

"The so-called death of department stores has probably been a bit oversold," Mr Brookes said.

He was speaking in Sydney with local retailers after his three-week tour of stores in the US, UK and Asia.

"There is an interesting rejuvenation of department stores around the world who have lost significant share over the last many number of years to fast fashion, specialty, big boxes and category killers. We are seeing globalisation ... at an ever increasing rapid rate ... but we are seeing a lot of the regional and large department stores learning how to thrive and in fact grow, and particularly when you add their online figures, " Brookes said.

Brookes noted that local department stores are already showing sign of recuperation against international brands and online stores.

Myers is recovering from 18 per cent decrease in profit and its shares are trading at 18-months lows. However, Brookes maintained positivism as he is seeing a significant profit growth by 2015.

On Wednesday, retail billionaire Solomon Lew's privately owned Australian Retail Investments announced a 9.89 per cent stake in department store David Jones.

Lew bought 53.11 million shares worth $200 million - a move that can confirm Lew's takeover target on Australia's second biggest and oldest department store.

With this much stake on David Jones, Lew could vote down Woolworths takeover proposal on David Jones in spite having Woolworths' shareholders' voting in favour of the takeover.

It would only take 13 days for Lew to overturn Woolworths' takeover bid on David Jones as he waits for a shareholders meeting to be held in Sydney on June 30. There must be 75 per cent of shares voted for Woolworths' deal to succeed. However, it would only take 15 per cent 'no' vote for Lew to overturn Woolworths' bid.

Lew belongs to the elite group BRW Rich 200 list with an estimated value of more than $1.7 billion.

David Jones share is up by 1.5 cents to $3.895 in Wednesday's early trading.

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