Is it another example of the death of department stores, just a further sign of the economic woes impacting upon fashion retail, or just proof that a brand name can’t mean everything to everyone?
As Australia’s Myer department chain looks to shutter stores, our money is on the latter.
After all, it can’t be an easy task to promote yourself as a luxury retailer in one suburb and as a budget friendly retailer in another. In fact, to attempt to do so is rather nonsensical. It might have worked in a pre-e-commerce world, but no more.
Myer will close stores in Victoria and New South Wales and shrink surviving stores in response to the two-speed economy and online shopping.
Myer stores at Tuggeranong in the Australian Capital Territory and at Forest Hill in Melbourne’s east will close early next year. Others outlets will be shrunk when the shopping centres in which they operate are redeveloped.
Real estate stockbroking analysts suggested the Myer stores at Dandenong Plaza and possibly in Wollongong, south of Sydney, could also be closed.
“Myer has embraced the internet as a friend and our goal is to give customers a choice. That could see department stores evolve into a place to pick up items bought online, or where consumers can browse, try on items before buying online or even a place where goods can be exchanged.
“It’s not an either-or strategy. We expect the internet to grow significantly and we are focused on putting in all the right infrastructure. This includes our ongoing strategy of rationalising stores and offerings.”
What Myer is describing is not only a ‘bricks and clicks’ strategy, but also a move away from Australia’s lower socioeconomic towns and suburbs.