The oldest department store in Australia still focuses on the same values while trying to face the new challenges of the global industry, with some exciting news on the food side. In Australia, traditional department stores are not as popular as they used to be in the last decades because of the competition of international retailers such as Sephora, H&M, Uniqlo. Besides, the latest Australian trends show people spending 5,5% more in cafes, restaurants and on takeaway food and less and less on apparel and accessories; accordingly many department stores are cutting floor space to clothes and accessory retailers to offer more space to cafes, food outlets and restaurants. So, the decision to invest in food within David Jones circuit came to no surprise.
A NEW ‘FOODIE PARADISE’
In August 2017, David Jones unveiled its flagship food concept by launching a redesigned Food Hall at Bondi Junction, Westfield. A ‘2400 square meters foodie paradise’ as it was welcomed by media and customers. The opening was part of a new strategy plan by DJ that is set to invest $200 million over three years in the national rollout of its premium food offering.
The concept is to create a place where food excellency from all over the word are offered in one place and offer a ‘world-class food experiences’ as Chef Neil Perry- who partnered with DJ in the epic endeavor described it
PREMIUM STORE BRANDS IN AUSTRALIA, THE NEW CHALLENGE
Italianfood.net was invited to take part to the opening of the latest acquisition: a brand new food hall and stylish deli in the Melbourne Southern-East suburb of Malvern. As Ian Moir (CEO of Woolworths Holdings, a South Africa-based multinational retail company that owns amongst others also Australian DJ) announced “David Jones at Malvern Central is the first concept in Melbourne to launch under the new David Jones food brand. The majority of product within the store is under the new premium David Jones Food label which includes prepared vegetables, salads and fruit, ready meals, ready-to-eat take home options including rotisserie chickens, sandwiches, sushi, ice cream, confectionary and coffee from the Espresso Bar”.
THE NEW FOOD HALL
Walking though the aisles, the attention is caught by the range and proportion of the DJ labeled produces in every of the 8500 produces available; the three years strategy mentioned early, included to increase the presence of David Jones-branded products from 40% to 70%. DJ Food Halls attempted to fill a gap within the top end of food retailing, while changing the perception that private label products are inferior to branded products. Italianfood.net looked for the Italian sourced produced labeled under DJ, to find out Made in Italy prevails in categories like tomato sauces, dry pasta, condiments, olives, preserved vegetables, oil and balsamic vinegar.
EXCLUSIVENESS IS KEY
Paul Horwell, Food Buying Manager at David Jones explained to Italianfood.net that “within David Jones we have a great selection of Italian products, that cover most of the grocery area. So we work very hard with producers in Italy through one of our key suppliers who is very good at going to the source of the products. We like to try and get the best products, that are not only exclusive to DJ, but more in general unique to all of us here in Australia.” So, one key of the selection of the labeled produce is the ‘exclusiveness’ for DJ, which means “we don’t like to sell anything else that any other supermarket has on their shells has so all the products that we have here within our range are totally exclusive to us” Mr Horwell continued. The top sellers Italian sourced produces are: pasta sauces, pasta, olive oils and vinegars from all different part of Italy. Besides, there is a range of aperitivo produces on offer to confirm the new trend is growing its popularity in Australia too like olives, capers, dried tomatoes, grilled artichokes.
When we asked how the produces are selected at the source, Mr Horwell explained: “One of our key supplier is Rialto. Rialto agents, in Italy, work with small and medium suppliers to find the very best products. For example, within the pasta sauces we only have sauces from Italy. It is made very close to where they harvest the tomatoes in the South on the country. It doesn’t have flavouring or preservatives, and it’s all natural ingredients and virtually every pasta sauce that comes from Italy and it is sold in Australia has some level of preservatives”. Since the introduction on Amazon and many major food retailers offering online food shopping options to the Australians, the attempt to offer not only a produce but a unique, top end experience might prove a successful opposing strategy. According to the most recent food trends, the Italian sourced produces at David Jones answered the needs for transparency, clean and clear food and healthier produces.