Free Subscription

  • Access 15 free news articles each month


Try one month for $5
  • Unlimited access to news,insights and opinions
  • Quarterly and weekly magazines
  • Independent research reports and forecasts
  • Quarterly webinars with industry experts
  • Q&A with retail leaders
  • Career advice
  • Exclusive Masterclass access. Part of Retail Week 2021

Why is Myer so unlucky?

MyerBourkestreetOn the March 2 in 2015 the ABC wrote: “It has become clear that to thrive in a modern retail environment, Myer must adapt more quickly and be closer to its customers. The board and management team have agreed that the transformation work has reached a pivotal point and it is appropriate for a new CEO to be given the opportunity to own, lead and drive the transformation program.”

That same day, IG markets Evan Lucas was quoted in the Daily Telegraph that it appeared as if the board had forced former Myer CEO Bernie Brookes to resign.

On February 14 this year, Brookes’ successor, Richard Umbers, was “forced out” (

Why is Myer so unlucky?

And why is Solomon Lew so correct?

As we know he is advocating a clean sweep. The board and the chairman must go and the sooner the better. Put Mark McInnes at the helm and there will be an immediate turnaround – I reckon underwritten by Solomon Lew.

I have vacillated on whether it is important (essential) to have retailers on the board of retail companies and a retailer at the helm. Of course the current Myer board is thin on retailers and Umbers was light on retail experience.

Apparently the thinking was that the future of retail lies in omnichannel and therefore who better to head up a retail organisation than a tech head. Certainly having an “experienced” retailer prior to Umbers hadn’t worked.

Yes – physical stores are losing ground. Just read these columns in recent months to see how many retailers are in trouble. And internet sales are climbing. But this is a drop in the ocean. An exponential growth of very little is very little. Yet we hear about omnichannel incessantly like a drowning frog clinging to a lily leaf.

Why omnichannel will never work is patently clear. There is no measurable benefit and nobody appears to have asked the customer whether they want it. In the absence of a full blown survey (which would be a huge challenge because nobody seems to agree on a definition for omnichannel), my informal findings are that there is a consumer backlash to handing over their email addresses and mobile phone numbers because they are being inundated with junk.

So let’s park the technology mumbo jumbo for a while and in the case of Myer, have a competent retailer take over the reins.

Stuart Bennie is a retail consultant at Impact Retailing and can be contacted at or 0414 631 702

You have 7 free articles.