Australia's David Jones H1 profits down 4.6 pct, beats forecasts

SYDNEY, March 19 Tue Mar 18, 2014 6:44pm EDT

SYDNEY, March 19 (Reuters) - Australia's No. 2 department store operator David Jones Ltd on Wednesday reported a 4.6 percent fall in first-half net profit, the smallest decline in three years, beating expectations on improved sales and online growth.

The company said its net profit after tax was A$70.1 million ($64.02 million) in the six months ended Jan. 25, compared with A$73.5 million a year ago. The result was higher than an average forecast of A$66.7 million from four analysts. ($1 = 1.0950 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang; editing by Stephen Coates and G Crosse)

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