David Jones feels the pinch in Wollongong

The tough economic conditions have started to affect high-end retailers such as David Jones.

The David Jones store in Wollongong, south of Sydney, has cut permanent part-time hours by 20% where sales have dropped.

Sales commissions are also being withheld if employees fail to issue at least one DJs credit card a month.

Group GM, Paul Zahra, told The Illawarra Mercury newspaper that a tougher economy had resulted in slipping sales in a number of DJs stores, including Wollongong.

“We are the premium end of retail and have to plan for this,” he said. “We have 140 employees all up and we have cut hours for about 30 permanent part-time employees as a result of the trading environment.”

Zahra said it was part of normal business practice in retail and it was done in line with an enterprise agreement.

He described hour reductions (which can only be done once a year) as a preferred alternative to job losses. “In retail we have peaks and troughs, but it is important everybody comes out of it in the end.”

He denied the attitude had been brutal, calling the reductions “considered and diligent”, with union consultation.

Zahra also confirmed changes to the way commissions, or incentive schemes, were paid. “The store card is important to the company strategy to build loyalty and it allows us to access customers about special offers,” he said.


This story first appeared in InsideRetailing.com.au


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