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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Will someone please buy Myer...

...and put us and it out of its and our misery! I don't spend much in major department stores or big shopping malls these days. Income is limited and needs are not so great. But yesterday I was in the city and, because it was sale time and I had time to spare, I decided to wander over to Burke Street and have a look at Myer and David Jones. I went into Myer - and I was looking for a smart pair of black not-too-high heels.

Now I have only lived in Melbourne for sixteen months. Myer, while a national retailer, is a Melbourne icon. David Jones, on the other hand, is the other national retailer and is a Sydney icon. I have to admit that Myer has long since ceased to look like a packapoo shop/jumble sale/$2 shop that it did in the days of Dennis Eck. There is no doubt that Dawn Robertson has done her best and tried to cover all bases - including doing what was considered impossible: changing the name of Myer's Sydney store, the historic Grace Bros, to Myer. Why then, if they want to sell Myer, aren't they making their stores more attractive and comfortable for the consumer whose cash they rely on. A few months ago, I bought some clothes at Myer at Knox City. The dressing rooms were hanging off the wall, mine had a hole in the wall, nowhere to put your clothes, your handbag. They might have been tolerable if they had been erected at a suburban Sunday market - but from someone purporting to be a national iconic retailer. You've got to be kidding! Similarly at Myer's Burke Street store this week. Went up to Shoes. The shoes were displayed according to style - not to size - on metal rack after metal rack like something from that other Coles Myer retailer, Target. Eventually, somewhere near the back of the department I found an appropriate shoe (one shoe only is displayed) and I asked for the other to try them on. Guess what? No shoe. Two or three searches were done - still no shoe. Consequently, no sale. I didn't look for anything else. Left the store muttering to myself "Never again!". I walked out of the front door of Myer and into the comfortable and relaxing ambience of DJs next door. How wonderful the contrast. Antique light shades, decorated ceiling, art deco lifts. I made by way to Shoes. DJs doesn't have sales: it has clearances. The shoes being cleared are placed on tables, in a jumble I'll admit, but they are according to size and DJ's customers are used to the procedure. I had soon found a shoe, got its pair, and was satisfied and completed the sale.

I've come to the conclusion that someone, somewhere along the line is milking Coles Myer for all their worth one way or another. Now we know that Brian Quinn, C-M's former CEO, ended up in jail. There seem to be few admirers of Solomon Lew's business practices and, too often, Lindsay Fox voted with him on the Coles-Myer Board. So please someone - buy the Myer stores and make them something worthy of the people whom you ask to spend money there. Invest in your clientele. But if Myer stores continue to be below par, spread the word - Myer is no longer an icon fit for Melbourne or anywhere else.