Myer head honcho Bernie Brookes has again upset his private equity boss, TPG, by calling out weak sales at upmarket US department store, Neiman Marcus, in his speech to Trans-Tasman Business Circle in Sydney on Friday. TPG owns Neiman Marcus and has struggled to turn the business around, experiencing the same loss of relevance that Myer seems to be facing here in Australia. Bernie clearly is no help to his US mates as both groups are being solidly out-performed by competitors. Bernie’s assertion that the US trend shows that Myer is well placed to ride out the downturn is complete tosh. Mid-market stand-for-everything retailers in the US such as Macy’s (the most closest to Myer) are in terminal decline while upmarket/luxury retailers like Saks (sales up 23.9% in April and most closest to our DJs) are generally doing well, as are Wal-Mart, Target and some other mass-market discounters. In fact, Macy’s stopped reporting monthly sales last January so they could have the ritual poor-sales blood-letting quarterly instead of monthly. Australia follows the US more closely than other markets, so continue to see sales growth at DJs, Target and Big W while Myer continues to deliver flat or negative sales growth as it continues (15 plus years) trying to determine just where in the market it sits.

In the wake of Morris Iemma’s victory on energy privatisation, Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell is now on the ropes. His handling of the privatisation issue has been nothing short of disastrous and has alienated his base. Leadership speculation is rife and attention is now turning to Mike Baird. His most vocal backers are spreading the word “it’s on”…

Regarding Rudd’s media management, I think you can’t really blame the other Ministerial offices, when they each have to ask permission from Lachlan Harris and his mob to do anything. In fact, each and every statement, media release and the like must be approved by Harris and his agro band first. No wonder it takes everyone so long to get comment on anything. Ask around…

The administrator of the Darkinjung Land Council is facing a forensic audit after a hearing in Sydney in the last week. Proceedings against members of Darkinjung Land Council have been dropped after evidence was given that records and minutes can substantiate the members’ claim that all decisions taken by the administration had full support of the Darkinjung community. The appointment of the adminstrator by Milton Orkopoulos is being investigated. The legal teams for both sides have been forced to sign confidentiality agrrements. Why? Sacked members had been threatened with court. This was an act of intimidation by the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. Darkinjung was a news story that no-one would handle, you would have to ask why?

Inside the WA Libs – (you know, the rabble led by the chair sniffer). It should not be overlooked that the most recent Liberal draftee into Parliament, Christian Porter, the shadow AG, once appeared in his undies as one of Cleo‘s 50 most eligible bachelors (from around 2000 from memory). Christian, who is no Hugh Jackman, was apparently given the opportunity through his father’s old journalist connections, the legendary “Chilla” Porter. In his “bachelor” interview, Porter (again, from memory) said something about how much he liked feisty feminists.

If you look at the 1,000 odd 2020 submissions from non-participants you will be lucky to find one call for a general tax review. Makes you wonder about the selection and processes for the Summit.

Recall Julia nauseatingly referring to her boss as Kevin. Kevin this. Kevin that. Have you noticed that of late it’s “The Prime Minister” rather than “Kevin”. Reckon he’s told her to do that?

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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