Woolworths Holdings, the South African owner of David Jones in Australia, has announced that it is to close stores and focus its efforts on expanding its forecourt partnership with BP.
Three stores to close in Melbourne
In September 2020 the retailer expressed concern over the progress that its Australian food business was making and with many of its larger food halls located in department stores, COVID-19 restrictions have not helped either. As a result, the retailer will close three of its food sites in Melbourne, Bourke Street and Malvern Central food halls, and its first standalone David Jones food store at Capitol Grand in South Yarra. Its food halls at Elizabeth Street and Bondi Junction in Sydney will stay open, but be refurbished with a focus on 'concession partners and experiential elements'.
Focus on forecourt expansion to continue
Despite the challenges at its food hall and standalone stores, David Jones will continue to focus on expanding its stores on BP forecourts. The first of which opened in November 2019 and has expanded to 31 sites across Victoria and New South Wales by the end of 2020. The forecourt offer appears to be trading well, blending the best of David Jones' food-to-go and food-for-later offering, with well known BP shop elements and impluse / classic forecourt ranges. Woolworths Holdings also has a strong heritage in forecourt retail operations in its native South Africa and can transfer learnings from this businesses to its operations in Australia. It plans to open more new stores in 2021, but as yet, no numbers have been released.