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David Jones Flicks CEO Just When CE & Appliance Sales Boom

Just when David Jones was getting its act together in the consumer electronics and appliance markets, John Dixon, the former Marks & Spencer executive charged with turning around the department store has been given a pink slip and is out the door.

John Dixon Right.

The South African owners of the department store Woolworths has effectively unwound the management structure it put in place less than a year ago, when Mr Dixon, who came to Australia as David Jones’ CEO in 2015.

David Jones’ operating profit fell 25 per cent to $127 million in the 12 months ending June 2017 after the retailer invested $31 million in new finance, merchandise, customer relationship management and e-commerce systems, developing a new food business and relocating David Jones’ head office to Melbourne.

Underlying earnings fell 9.7 per cent to $158 million as gross margins slipped 0.9 per cent to 37 per cent and same-store sales slipped 0.7 per cent.

The shock decision comes as suppliers to the expand David Jones CE and appliance categories praise the success they are getting at the big retailer who is facing tough times flogging fashion and cosmetics.

Four months after moving from Sydney to Melbourne as part of David Jones’ head office relocation, Dixon has been flicked.

David Thomas – who took over day-to-day running of David Jones from Mr Dixon last September – will continue in his role and will now report directly to Woolworths chief executive Ian Moir.

The announcement came as the chairman of across town Myer, Garry Hounsell, hit back at the latest attack from major shareholder Solomon Lew’s Premier Investments, a major supplier and competitor to Myer.

“Premier Investments is engaged in a hostile and obstructive campaign that appears to be designed to destabilise Myer,” Mr Hounsell said.

Hounsell has failed to offer up any strategy that will deliver growth while at the same time failing to stop the bottom line bleeding.

Mr Hounsell used the AFR to accuse Premier of making misleading statements, saying he had not appointed himself to the role of executive chairman after Mr Umbers’ departure and Myer has not been engaged in a program of “extreme discounting” during the past three months.

He also defended non-executive director Julie Ann Morrison, saying she was appointed chairman of sass & bide in August 2017.

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