A prominent retail expert has revealed his shock while visiting one of Australia’s largest department stores when he couldn’t find a member of staff to help him with a $1,000 designer suit.
Gary Mortimer, a professor of marketing and consumer behavior at QUT Business School, filmed the incident Wednesday and posted it to his Twitter account.
“With all due respect, I spent 10 minutes walking around @DavidJonesStore Brisbane CBD with a $1000 MJ Bale just looking for a team member,” he wrote.
Footage shows Prof. Mortimer wandering through David Jones Brisbane menswear department wearing an MJ Bale suit and looking for an employee.
Gary Mortimer, professor of marketing and consumer behavior at QUT Business School, struggled to find staff to help him at Brisbane’s David Jones store
MJ Bale is a luxurious Australian menswear label that charges around $1000 for a two-piece suit.
He walks through several sections of the menswear department, all of which appear to be empty of both customers and store employees.
Prof Mortimer, who is also a consumer behavior researcher and industry speaker, said a team member from MJ Bale eventually arrived to help him with his purchase.
Twitter users sympathized with Prof. Mortimer’s plight.
“It’s not just David Jones, and it’s not just Brisbane either,” one commented
“I recently had a similar experience in Sydney and vowed not to return to one Dept Store.”
Another suggested that AI would soon replace the need for human store associates.
“It’s only a matter of time before you can walk in, get what you want, and an AI model will bill your card,” they said.
“Customer experience can make or break you,” commented another.
Customer service at David Jones has reportedly declined in recent years
The iconic Australian department store has suffered serious losses in recent years and there have been reports of declining customer service by customers.
A recent Google review of David Jones’ Sydney store read: ‘let down by inept customer service. Bad communication’.
“The fitting rooms are dirty, dated, filthy carpet, a hole the size of a slab in the ceiling and dirty plaster on the floor,” said another.
While a third reviewer said the Sydney store was “a shadow of its former self.”
In December, Daily Mail Australia revealed that David Jones’ departing owners spent a whopping $400 million on renovations just two years before selling the struggling business for a quarter of what the revamp cost.
Woolworths Holdings Limited (WHL) – which has no relation to Australian supermarket chain Woolworths – bought the chic store in 2014 for a whopping $2.1 billion.
But less than eight years after the purchase, the South Africa-based conglomerate was forced to sell the company to Australian firm Anchorage Capital Partners for just $100 million in December.
Profits of former David Jones owners Woolworths Holdings more than halved between 2015 and 2019
The decline of the iconic brand has been highlighted by the closure of several stores in recent years, including the failure of the highly anticipated boutique outlet in Sydney’s Barangaroo, which opened in 2016.
At the end of 2021, the shelves in the Barangaroo store were cleared of products, the display cases were empty and the windows were covered.
David Jones’ Fortitude Valley store in Brisbane closed in January 2020, just three years after opening.
Subsequently, in July 2020, David Jones announced the sale of the iconic Melbourne building for menswear, home goods and food in the Bourke Street Mall.
In June 2022, it closed its only store in Wellington, New Zealand.
Woolworths Holdings’ profits more than halved between 2015 and 2019, from $161 million to $37 million, forcing owners to write off the company by more than $1.1 billion.
David Jones suffered a devastating loss of $33 million in 2020.
At the time of the $400 million revamp, Woolworths Holdings revealed in August 2019 that the company’s profits had fallen 42 percent, from $64 million to $37 million in the 52 weeks to June 30.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted David Jones for comment.