Canberra Times’ business columnist Elizabeth Knight recently spoke to David Jones boss, Paul Zahra, about the effect of online shopping on Australian retailers.
Zahra said that he believed Australian shoppers hadn’t yet fully realised they were paying more for their online overseas purchases and probably wouldn’t until they checked their monthly credit card statements.
Like other premium department stores, David Jones has been experiencing declines in sales for nearly two years, thanks largely to the online shopping phenomenon. Zahra has been attempting to counteract this through strict inventory management and slowly weaning customers off the seasonal discounting cycle.
By contrast, David Jones’ online store has been very successful, with a 770% boost in sales in the fourth quarter. Yet the online store still only accounts for 1% of David Jones’ overall sales.
According to Knight, it remains to be seen whether things will improve for Australian bricks and mortar retailers if the Australian dollar remains low or falls even further behind the green back.