The most surprising aspect of last year’s float of Myer was not that its performance has been horrid, but rather, than anyone thought buying a department store business from a private equity firm would be a good idea. After being sold to gullible retail investors for $4.10 per share, Myer is currently trading at about $3.50 -- a drop of about 15%. During that same period, the broader market has risen by 5%, making Myer’s performance all the more galling for shareholders.

Myer’s first-half results were a mixed bag. Earnings (before the costs of the float) were up 38% (EPS beat prospectus forecasts by 10%), however sales figures rose by only 2% (barely beating inflation) while like-for-like sales were up an anemic 1.2%. Sales are still below what they were in 2007. Given Australia is enjoying near record low unemployment and well-below historical interest rates, this does not bode especially well.