David Jones could cut up to 100 roles as part of an extensive review by the retailer of its department store operations under its new private equity owner, Anchorage Capital.
The retailer confirmed on Monday it was working to streamline store operations and eliminate “tasks that are not focused on people or service” as part of a broad review of efficiency within its stores.
The process is set to result in redundancies at the retailer, as the company is removing the role of assistant sales manager from its operating structure. Part of the assistant sales manager positions includes preparing sales reports for stores, and office tasks that can be increasingly done with the use of technology.
A David Jones spokesperson said the changes would help managers spend more time with customers and their employees.
“We listened to our customers, frontline and management teams, and found there was duplication of effort and that our leaders want more time on the floor, leading and inspiring their teams, engaging with their customers and driving service outcomes,” the spokesperson said.
“To enable our managers to spend more time with their team and customers, we are streamlining processes and eliminating tasks that are not focused on people or service.”
Negotiations about the changes are still under way, and the company was not willing to put a number on the total roles to be made redundant. However, a source with knowledge of the conversations but not authorised to speak publicly said as many as 100 positions could be eliminated.
Staff whose roles are affected will have an opportunity to move elsewhere within the business. The company’s spokesperson confirmed it would redeploy workers where possible.
“We are further empowering store teams to deliver service and sales outcomes enabled by increased leadership and coaching on the selling floor. As such we have made over 80 promotions and are currently working through further redeployment opportunities for assistant sales managers.”
Anchorage had pledged to leverage David Jones’ strong brand position and help continue the retailer’s efforts to turn around its fortunes after facing difficult conditions under its former owner Woolworths.
A trading update from Woolworths Holdings last week warned that conditions for Australia’s department stores sector had deteriorated over the past few months, but David Jones boss Scott Fyfe was upbeat that consumer optimism would soon return.
David Jones is not the only retailer looking to simplify its operations in the current trading environment. Last week DIY giant Bunnings confirmed it was also changing the structure of its senior management team and would remove “regional managers” from its reporting structure.
The movement comes as the retail sector braces for a downcast full-year earnings season, which is expected to reveal continued softening of the consumer outlook. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released last week showed the total volume of goods sold across the country fell by 1.4 per cent in 2022-23, the first annual drop since the 1991 recession.
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Source: Thanks smh.com