Thursday, August 04, 2011

Dept. Store extinction

Here in the rest of the world Australia rarely gets a mention in the media.

It's usually the bizarre - the neck bomb story from Mosman is curently making news internationally, shark and croc attacks get coverage, 'roos attacking pensioners and other animal stories do to.

On the serious side there's the very occasional story about how we avoided the GFC, our high interest rates, and the Aussie dollar's rise is included in foreign exchange stories sometimes.

The big retail slump is one such story currently getting Australia into some of the news outlets.

While the reduction in spending is pretty much across the board the reports emphasise that by far the worst hit are the department stores.

And last month of course David Jones gave the markets warning that a dramatic slump in sales would result in a half year 20% drop in profits against last year.

I'm sure they'll all trot out the usual excuses - the high dollar, people buying online or overseas. But, have you been into a dapartment store recently? I was back in Oz a couple of months ago and wandered around a few of them.

That's where you'll see the root of the problem.  It can be summed up in one word. Boring.

Strange, but not unusual for far too many companies, that the management can't see the obvious.

I couldn't believe how boring, how uninviting, unfriendly, bland the stores are.

Boring shop design - although in reality 'design' is too strong a word to describe the layout.

Boring products, displayed in the blandest way possible.

No customers in sight, so the stores are manned by bored staff who stand around in their bland, empty environment for hours on end. Nothing to do but move a few hangers aroud, shuffle things on shelves.

Department stores have turned themselves into the dinosaurs of retailing.

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