David Jones has opened a strong sales lead against Myer

David Jones modelling competition winner Raquel Barillo. Arsineh Houspian/Getty Images for David Jones

Sales at David Jones, now run by South African group Woolworths Holdings, have started to run well ahead of rival Myer.

The department store chain reported a 6.4% rise in sales for the 12 months to June 28, under the management of Woolworths Holdings, which paid $2.2 billion for David Jones in August last year.

Myer reported sales growth of 1.5% in the first half and has downgraded its profit guidance.

The new Myer CEO, Richard Umbers, says the retailer has lost relevance with customers and needs a new strategy.

NOW WATCH: Money & Markets videos

Want to read a more in-depth view on the trends influencing Australian business and the global economy? BI / Research is designed to help executives and industry leaders understand the major challenges and opportunities for industry, technology, strategy and the economy in the future. Sign up for free at research.businessinsider.com.au.