May 23, 2018
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David Jones boss John Dixon shown front door

May 23, 2018

Luxury department store David Jones has lost its top chief executive, John Dixon, as South African parent group Woolworths Holdings embarks on a management overhaul of its Australian retail operations.

John Dixon

Charged with turning around the recent misfortunes of the high-end retailer, the former Marks and Spencer executive has been shown the front door after just two-and-a-half years at the helm.

Relocating from the UK to Sydney in 2015, Dixon first took on the role of David Jones CEO, before being promoted to his current role as Woolworths Holdings' Australian regional chief executive officer in March 2017. Since February this year, Dixon has been working from Melbourne after David Jones shifted its headquarters to the Victorian capital.

Dixon's departure as retail boss -- which saw him oversee the management of David Jones and the Country Road Group (made up of brands Mimco, Politix, Trenery and Witchery) -- is the result of a "strategic cost review", the South African group said on Tuesday.

However, the individual brand CEOs will retain their current roles. David Jones chief executive David Thomas, who succeeded the role from Dixon in September last year, will continue in his role and will now report directly to Woolsworths chief executive Ian Moir.

Likewise, Country Road Group chief executive Scott Fyfe will keep his position and report to Moir.

Stocking international luxury labels and high-end local designers, David Jones has been struggling on sluggish consumer spending, backed by Australia's drifting away from department stores and a favouring of boutiques, shopping destinations and e-commerce.  

David Jones' operating profit fell by a third to $84 million in the six months to December, as total sales fell 3 per cent to $1.1 billion.

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