Myer chief executive Richard Umbers has plenty to be happy about with his turnaround plan being off to a fantastic start. Umbers recently announced that the company has more than doubled its full-year profit to $60.5 million and has grown sales revenue by three percent.
Umbers claims that the increase in sales has come from focusing on “wanted brands” like Topshop, Seed and Veronika Maine. However the company’s success may also have to do with Myer axing 150 labels that were deemed unprofitable. Two brands that manage to survive this drastic cut were Basque and Piper, but it has now been understood that sales for the two brands have also diminished.
“Our Basque and Piper brands are very significant in their own right, with a very strong connection to customers — but in some ways, we feel we’ve neglected them in the past,” Umbers revealed. “They’ve been short-changed because they get few racks.”
Umbers plans to change this by ensuring that Basque and Piper get the attention they deserve with a test trial currently occurring in 40 selected Myer stores. The experiment involves customised visual merchandising of the brands, staffing models while integrating sales and marketing with the added assistance of other support.
“What we will do is run them much more like a concession business in terms of what the customer will see.”
Umbers has no obvious fears about this decision, revealing that Myer is “not wedded to them for any legacy reasons” and if “a brand isn’t working” then “it goes, irrespective of whether it is a concession or a private label or a national brand.”
This strategy is currently being trialled at Myer stores in Sydney, Melbourne, Chatswood, Doncaster and Toowoomba.