David Jones set to open upmarket supermarkets

David Jones is planning to rival super market giants Coles and Woolworths by opening its own upmarket food retail chain.

The SMH reports that Ian Moir, the boss of South African retail giant Woolworths Holdings (which owns David Jones but is not related to the Australian food retailer) said the new supermarkets will open some time this year.

He said a team was being built and had begun negotiations with food producers. The team would be led by David Jones’ new boss, John Dixon, a former senior executive at iconic British retail chain Marks and Spencer.

As the Australian points out, the new entity would be looking to fill a gap in the high end food market. Currently in Australia there is no equivalent to Waitrose, the upmarket British supermarket chain.

“There is a gap in the market, it’s not being provided by Woolworths or Coles and we can fill that gap,’’ Moir said.

“The (David Jones) brand can carry that so the extension into foods is a natural one for David Jones.

“It needs to be revolutionary, it needs to be a significant improvement in the offer, so freshness needs to be better, there needs to be a greater prepared offer.

“If we can get that right this can be a big business, it’s going to take time, it’s going to take capital investment and it will not reach its potential in my lifetime as CEO, and maybe not even John’s because this could be a big bus that we really need to build and build well over time.”