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David Jones to rethink Food business following South African review

The 35 dual-branded sites built over the past year will be transitioned in the coming months.

Months after parent company Woolworths Holdings slammed the David Jones Food business for its “slow transition”, and said was reviewing the segment in order to recoup losses, the department store group announced it will be streamlining the offering.

The new-look Food business will see three of its current sites shuttered – Bourke Street Mall next month, Capitol Grand in April and Malvern Central in May – while stores in Elizabeth Street and Bondi Junction will be refurbished to provide a “world-class” department store offering, and will feature concession partners and experiential elements.

The business’ partnership with bp, which is expected to expand to around 35 locations across New South Wales and Victoria by the end of the year, will continue unabated.

David Jones chief executive Scott Fyfe said the change will set the business up for a more sustainable future.

“A recent review of our Food business has helped us identify a number of structural changes we need to make to ensure the ongoing success and profitability of this offering,” Fyfe said.

“Above all, we are committed to the ongoing delivery of the most iconic elements of our Food offering both instore and online.”

The refocus is part of an overall plan to get the Food business into a profitable position by the 2022 financial year, as was indicated by Woolworths Holdings’ group chief executive Roy Bagattini in September 2020.

And, as was revealed last week, the overall David Jones business is largely being kept afloat by government support and rent relief, putting the pressure on the department stores management to quickly turn around its local operations.

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