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DAVID Jones will steal the jump on competitor Myer

DAVID Jones will steal the jump on competitor Myer by as much as a week in the department store sales wars when it launches its winter clearance today.

Less than a week after reporting third quarter sales growth of 3.3 per cent, which lagged Myer's 7.9 per cent, DJs will seek to drive sales in the heavy discount sales period from today, offering savings of up to 50 per cent in the high-margin cosmetics and womenswear departments.

A Myer spokesman said it was still aiming to start its winter sales "mid next week" and would not move it forward to match DJs.

DJs boss Mark McInnes last week dismissed questions about the significance of the company's slower sales growth, saying he was focused on the "quality" of sales and noting Myer's strong third-quarter sales results last year were accompanied by a heavy second-half loss.

But analysts say if DJs can maintain its third quarter momentum it will easily exceed its profit guidance.

Getting the jump by as much as a week could boost DJs' chance of pleasing the market with a better than expected full-year result before facing a rejuvenated Myer under new owner Newbridge Capital. Both chains surprised last year by launching winter clearance sales before winter had even begun as warm weather and slowing sales left both chains with excess stock.

Smaller specialty retailers, including Country Road, have already begun their sales.

Myer's spokesman said the sale's timing was "a business decision" and taken in isolation from the sale process to Newbridge.