Details of David Jones’ transformation strategy under new ownership revealed

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Increased prominence of private label and house brands, new loyalty and credit card programs, changes to staffing and a renewed focus on Asian customers are all part of David Jones’ new strategy under South African ownership.

South African retailer Woolworths purchased the iconic Australian department store last August for $2.1 billion, and paid another $213 million for the Country Road Group to form one of the largest retailers in the Southern Hemisphere.

The details of the planned transformation of the business were unveiled in an analyst presentation this month. There will be increased prominence of private label and house brands, including the launch Woolworths’ brands into the Australian market. The Woolworths brand and DJs private label will grow from 3.5 per cent to 20 per cent of total sales.

Part of this push will include a major expansion of the Country Road, including its brands Mimco, Trenery and Witchery inside David Jones stores. By June 2015 the Country Road Group will occupy 22,500 square metres in David Jones stores, currently they take up just 6,800 square metres. They will also be moved to more prominent positions of the shop floor.

Country Road Home will launch eight stores in August 2015 and a further eight stores in October, with more store to follow in February 2016. Also outlined in handbag retailer Mimco’s strategy is an increased focus on mobile accessories, as fashion and tech move closer together.

David Jones will introduce a new staffing structure. The sales managers’ role will shift from 70/30 admin/sell to 70/30 sell/admin allowing more time to be spent focusing on the customer and less time on administrative tasks.

A new integrated Loyalty and Financial Service program will also be introduced. Data and insights from this program will be leveraged to provide personalised, relevant and targeted communication.

To execute a “right product, right place, right price” strategy, insights from data analyst firm Quantium will be used to optimise brand assortment and understand market size, growth and share, forming the basis of the revised brand assortment.

A renewed focus on targeting Asian customers was also identified as a David Jones initiative.
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