GETTING DJS BACK IN THE BLACK
What’s stopping you from shopping at iconic Australian department stores David Jones and Myer?
Sales have slumped dramatically at both stores… so why aren’t you walking through their doors?
Is it the lure of internet shopping or the the reduction of the big mark ups on products that keep us going to Target, K-Mart or Big W?
Is it, as the DJs board says: “shoppers (are) still nervous about the economy?” (In fact, figures show retail is actually ticking along quite nicely – although not back to pre GFC levels.)
Writing at Fairfax, business analyst Michael Pascoe says that it’s a lack of customer service that is driving customers away and that the retailers have only themselves to blame.
Who doesn’t have a tale of traipsing through department after department at DJs and Myer looking for a sales assistant? Then, dumping your armful of stuff and leaving?
“DJs and Myer have been caught out trying to run 20th century businesses when we’re well into the second decade of the 21st. The successful retail world has already adapted and moved on,” says Pascoe.
He says that the point-of-sale system still operates DJs : “In modern retailing terms, that’s not far removed from an abacus and a tin cash box.
“It’s a wonder the ladies in black making a sale don’t trigger a loud “t-ching” with prices preceded by a pound sign popping up in a glass window beneath embossed silverwork.”
Meanwhile, successful retailers have adapted. And there are lots of international retailers and their stores like Zara that will keep on coming and applying pressure.
“There’s no other store like David Jones,” seems to be an increasingly ironic statement.
It was once the height of sophistication to shop at a DJ’s store. The flagship Sydney CBD store was stuffed with spring flowers and someone tickled the ivories in the vast accessories department. DJs once styled itself “the most beautiful store in the world.”
The annual DJs spring/summer fashion parade which attracts Miranda Kerr is still a night chockers with celebrities keen to walk up the black carpet.
But increasingly, the events seems to be just window dressing.
How would you get these department stores back in the black, and, importantly, keep their staff in employment?
Or has this style of store - often located in shopping centres and surrounded by speciality shops – had its day?