Myer chief executive Bernie Brookes announced that he was expecting a “good, but not great” Christmas at a Financial Services Institute lunch earlier this week.
Sales of gift wrapping, decorations and hampers were “in line with expectations”, but he was being realistic about the prospects for Christmas given the economic climate of the past two years. “All retailers are circling some awful numbers from last year, so we expect Christmas to be good on that basis,” he said.
Brookes added that gift card sales had “gone through the roof”: up as much as 40 percent. “That’s an indication that this year consumers are going to be giving gift cards and spending it at the stocktake sale, when they can get the bargain.”
Brookes said this week’s interest rate rise had not dampened spending and Myer had doubled its sales the day after the rate hike due to a ‘Secret Sale’ promotion.
He said the company’s full-year sales growth guidance of three percent remained intact, however warned that sales growth between the second and fourth quarter of the fiscal year was likely to slow from the 5.3 percent rate achieved in the first quarter, while sustained interest rate hikes could pose a problem for spending.
“If we do get sizeable and significant rises, sort of another one to two to three percent, I think it could affect retail sales,” he said.