Bricks and Mortar is not Dead
Online is particularly good from an educational point of view. If you’ve got water on the knee, you can look up and you get a get a celery capsule. The medicinal area is going to be very strong in personal contact. I look at the Flannery’s business; we now have three naturopaths in each of the stores. They are very busy people and they provide advice and help and education. And I think that’s where we’ve got an advantage over Woollies Coles. They do not have the level of trust from customers, particularly in this organic natural space. If you look at some of the Romeo’s and some of the IGA stores now they are really building a good business out of being able to sell gourmet and unique products and provide that with specialist advice, whether it is the cheese specialist or the seafood specialist. That should be what Woollies and Coles own. But they’ve gone downhill in the last few years in trying to own that space. And it’s been given away to good businesses like Harris Farm, and some of the good IGA stores that are around.
David Jones and Myer has become the sort of whipping boy for bricks and mortar. Yet they are still doing four and a half billion dollars in turnover in the Australian marketplace. So for all of the bad bits that everybody talks about them about not having identity, not moving fast enough in the digital space, having poor customer service, there’s still a significant chunk of change being done in doors. The one thing that took us from minus 66M to plus $280 million at Myer was our ability to increase personal shopping, to have some fantastic world class designers in our store that provide that advice, to have fashion shows and events, to have theatre in store to have a great events at the race meeting, really had what I would call that art of theatre, and retail entertainment. This has been lost recently as cost reductions hit hard. And you don’t have that sort of celebrity presence anymore. And so naturally, people like your daughter are going to say, well, why would I want to go to the old Fuddy duddies store, when I can go online and buy something and if it doesn’t fit or it’s wrong colour I can return it. So I think they’ve become masters of their own destiny. Myer and David Jones has become a self-fulfilling prophecy where they’re going to attract the wrong customer, because they’ve been too focused on reducing costs, reducing range and not using what was the epitome of department stores. That being theatre entertainment. The piano player in the middle of David James having somebody that can give you advice that can style you that can personally tell you what cosmetic to wear, right the way through to what dress goes with what shoes.