In 2001 Australian retailer David Jones shut down their website.
Back then, the future was clear; profits were in financial services and certainly not in online sales or investing in improved stores and service.
Today the company released their strategic review that looks forward to financial years 2013 and beyond. You can downloaded it from David Jones’ investor website.
On Page 13, they show just how far David Jones has fallen behind their international competitors. Less that 1% of DJ’s sales are online compared to 4.5% of the UK’s House Of Fraser and 13% of John Lewis.
Australian executives claim they are in a global market for their talents which is why they deserve world standard remuneration. David Jones’ results show how hollow that mantra is.
The problems start with the board, five of the eight current David Jones directors were with the company when that decision was made in 2001.
None of them have been held to account.
David Jones illustrates the weakness in Australia’s business sector – largely unaccountable boards answering only to institutional investors who themselves have grown fat and lazy on clipping the compulsory superannuation ticket.
One hopes the some of the competitors who are displacing flaccid incumbents like David Jones are based in Australia or the locals may soon find that many of these sectors, not just in retail, will go offshore to better run companies.