Woolworths Can you hear the thunder?
Four months ago, Woolworths wrote down the value of its ill-considered Antipodean acquisition John Dixon by nearly R7bn. Last week, it unceremoniously dumped David Jones, CEO of its Australian operation, in order to “cut costs”. Oops sorry. We got two Australian names mixed up there, common mistake. David Jones is of course the retailer, John Dixon the unceremonious dumpee. Be that as it may, Woolies is committed to going the course with DJ, which it bought for R20bn in 2014. This has analysts concerned, believing as they do that the David Jones department store model is long past its sell-by. They’re also concerned that the premium-food business as practiced so successfully in SA could struggle to find traction – and even willing suppliers – in a land where, we are reliably informed, “women glow and men plunder.”
Comment: On the first issue, we may agree cautiously with the pundits. But having travelled long and far, we believe that the Woolies food model, with its focus on customer experience and quality, is ripe for global expansion.