John King Breaks His Silence About Myer’s New Strategy

April Davis By April Davis | 04 Jun 2018

John King has officially started his new role as CEO of embattled multichannel retailer, Myer, and has discussed his plans for the company during a store visit at Doncaster in Melbourne’s east.

Myer has been making headlines over the past few months, as a result of poor sales and profit downgrades, and of course, due to the ongoing battle between Myer’s board and major shareholder, Solomon Lew. But, for the first time, King has broken his silence.

While attending an early morning staff meeting at Myer’s store in Doncaster, King told staff that customers will be at the forefront of the struggling retailer’s strategy moving forward.

“We have to put the customer first – in every decision we make and every action we take. This has been my absolute focus in all my retail roles, and it will continue to be my focus at Myer,” King said in a statement released on Monday.

“To deliver on this, I’ll be spending at least two days every week in stores, serving our customers, hearing their views and those of our team members.”

Myer's CEO

Myer’s new CEO, John King, says he will spend at least two-days in-store each week.

King also touched on the fact that Myer’s namesake isn’t enough anymore, as the changing nature of retail and the increased competition posed by e-commerce and online marketplaces are changing the way consumers shop.

“I know that Myer holds a special place in Australian retailing, but I also understand that this position has shifted in recent times, and, is being challenged by an ever-changing global retail environment.

“I am confident we can turn this company around. We can rebuild pride, confidence and relevance in Myer, especially with our customers,” he said.

Dwindling consumer trust in the company has been evident in Myer’s performance over the past few months, with overall sales falling 2.7 percent in the quarter ending April 28.

The only positive results the business has recently produced have come from its online revenue. In the April quarter, Myer reported strong sales growth for its online store, with sales increasing by 49.4 percent to $35.9 million, bringing online sales for the year-to-date to $141.1 million.

The retailer has also reported positive results for The Myer Market, its luxury online marketplace that launched in December 2017. In the last quarter alone, the online hub grew by 30 percent, and it recently on-boarded its 150th seller and 30,000th product.

Myer’s decision to make concession holders put the customer first, even if it means concession stall workers are assisting consumers interested in their competitors’ products, could be the first step in King’s new strategy.

Last week’s announcement that Australia’s lowest paid workers will be getting a 3.5 percent wage increase, when combined with a stronger customer focus, could see consumers loosening their purse strings. However, King has acknowledged that turning Myer around won’t be an easy job, and with retail trade figures only rising 0.4 percent in April, after a stagnant March, it’s safe to say he will have his work cut out for him.

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