Online retail gems: What “fat and lazy” David Jones missed by knocking back a meeting with Catch Of The Day founder

Deals Direct chairman Paul Greenberg says David Jones squandered a great opportunity by failing to meet with fellow online retailer Gabby Leibovich.

DailyDeals and Catch Of The Day co-founder Gabby Leibovich made headlines after he branded David Jones “fat and lazy”.

Leibovich made the comments after David Jones chief executive Paul Zahra turned down an invitation from Leibovich to meet and discuss the potential of online retail.

Leibovich was reluctant to expand on his comments to Smart Company.

“I don’t know if I should pursue it further, otherwise my wife will never be able to shop at DJs again,” he says.

“Those comments have made a lot of waves.”

However, Paul Greenberg, the executive chairman of Deals Direct, believes Zahra missed an opportunity by turning down a meeting with Leibovich.

“I am surprised Paul Zahra would have knocked back the opportunity because it would have been well worthwhile for him,” Greenberg says.

“It was disappointing that he would not grab half an hour for a coffee as Gabby is quite pioneering in a new style of retail which is more hunting than shopping.

“It is very different from what David Jones stands for.”

Greenberg believes stores like David Jones have a lot to learn from online retailers like Daily Deals, Catch of the Day and Deals Direct, but says online retailers can also benefit from meeting with the big bricks and mortar stores.

Greenberg has a few suggestions for what he would have talked to Zahra about had the meeting gone ahead.

“I would have to peddle out some of my favourite lines, one is nimbleness is the new mantra and of course it is the fast eating the slow,” he says.

“That is a hard message for chief executives of sizeable retailers to hear. 

“These are big iconic brands, and that has to be respected, but I would raise the nimbleness factor.

“I would be in violent agreement with Zahra about what he calls an ‘omni channel’, touch your customers in the way they want to be connected. 

“We are on the same page there.

“I would not presume to lecture a guy like that with his track record, I am sure what Gabby was intending was a collegial conversation.”

However, Greenberg says he does not agree with Leibovich labelling David Jones as “fat and lazy” and a “dinosaur”.

“I don’t like the term dinosaur. 

“They are going through some hard times and this is not the time to put the boot in, in my view.

“As much as we should not disrespect the bigger end of town, they need to respect us at some level.”

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