Caitlin Fitzsimmons Online editor

Caitlin covers social media, marketing and technology and is BRW's social media editor. She has worked as a journalist in Sydney, London and San Francisco, writing for titles including The Guardian and The Australian Financial Review.

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David Jones plays a global game

Published 08 November 2012 17:27, Updated 15 November 2012 04:45

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David Jones plays a global game

David Jones chief executive Paul Zahra says the company recognises it’s “increasingly competing in the international arena”. Photo: Andrew Quilty

Department store David Jones is tackling the consumer perception of “rip-off Australia” head on, permanently slashing prices for a range of international brands by up to half in a bid to win back local customers.

Meanwhile, the retailer is also making a play to win foreign customers interested in buying Australian designer fashions, such as Collette Dinnigan and Carla Zampatti, via its new online store.

David Jones chief executive Paul Zahra says the company recognises it is competing in the international arena.

“This has meant that it is important that we do everything possible to protect our customer value proposition and to ensure that the international brands our customers love are accessible at David Jones,” Zahra says.

Like other Australian retailers, David Jones has been under pressure from the growing popularity of online shopping and the high Australian dollar, making international competitors much more appealing for local customers.

In its “Lower Everyday Prices” program, David Jones has cut prices up to 50 per cent for hundreds of products from brands such as Estee Lauder, Clinique, 7 for all Mankind, marc by marc jacobs, Guess, Scanpan, Canon and Bose.

The price reductions are the result of months of negotiations with international suppliers to bring local prices into line with the global market since the company announced a cost price harmonisation program in March.

The company has embraced an omni-channel retail model just in time for Christmas, after making a big investment in e-commerce software earlier this year. The retailer announced its new online store davidjones.com.au, a mobile commerce offering and magazine-style shoppable iPad app earlier this week, and it is supporting the new offering with a big consumer marketing campaign.

However, David Jones has recognised that the globalisation of online shopping poses opportunities as well as threats. A company spokeswoman said more international customers were buying Australian designer clothing from David Jones, because of its high visibility in search results.

David Jones stocks hundreds of Australian designers, including Willow, Collette Dinnigan, Scanlan & Theodore, Camilla & Marc, Alex Perry, Carla Zampatti, Jac + Jack, and Ginger & Smart.

I am working on a feature on retail innovation. Please leave a comment below or email me at caitlin.fitzsimmons@afr.com.au if you would like to contribute ideas and information.

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