In Melbourne we have blinkers on. When we hear the word Myer we think Bourke
Street. But Myer has other stores that are dogs; or at least
dogs of a different breed. Myer buyers are trying to build ranges that
will sell across all stores. The merchandise that sells in Bondi Junction is not
the same as the ideal offer in Tamworth, Wagga or Launceston.

Here is my wild guess about what will happen to our best known
department store as Coles Myer conducts its strategic review. Myer will
stay under the Coles Myer umbrella and keep ten to 12 flagship stores like
Melbourne, Chadstone, Macquarie and Bondi Junction. They will go back
to being upmarket and continue with Myer CEO Dawn Robertson’s stated
strategy of focusing on what they are good at, instead of being all
things to all customers.

After all, DJs is making money in sectors that had been largely abdicated by Myer. There may be major refits of flagship
stores. We may see the tired Bourke
& Lonsdale store redeveloped, perhaps not as a straight department store, but more like a mall. See

Coles Myer may have a big sale to clear the unwanted Myer stores. Maybe a sale to a second string
retailer such as Harris Scarfe, (here)
or some rebadging into other Coles Myer brands such as Target and Kmart. In that
circumstance, I can’t imagine they would handpass anything to
DJs, in spite of Tuesday’s offering on Crikey about
Mark McInnes and Solly
The body language between Dawn Robertson and
Coles Myer CEO John Fletcher is reported to indicate that he is still a believer. Dawn may be given the opportunity to build an
upmarket range for the metropolitan star
stores. If she’s successful, she
will be a visionary hero. On the other hand, if her senior team keeps
disintegrating, she will find it impossible and will fail and be

In the 50s and 60s, the list of merchandise
categories that were dominated by department stores was huge. If you
asked shoppers (we didn’t have consumers then) where they would go to buy almost
any non-food product, a department store would be named in the top three
likely sources. To purchase toys, furniture, electrical, hardware,
homewares, sporting goods, even school uniforms, people would go to a department
store. But things have changed. Department stores
have not been doing well anywhere in the world for more than a decade.
They must reinvent themselves, or become irrelevant and

This guess is brought to you by the person who
thought Dawn would go on 12 May when her three-year $1 million extra termination benefit lapsed.