Half of Myer's headquarters gone after years of cuts
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Half of Myer's headquarters gone after years of cuts

Embattled department store chain Myer will cut another 50 jobs and shake up its executive ranks as it tries to revive its sales performance and attract customers.

The company on Thursday announced the latest round of cost-cutting as it revealed its finance chief Grand Davenport would be replaced by Nigel Chadwick at the end of January, while Mark Cripsey would be promoted to the newly created position of chief operating officer.

Myer chief executive Richard Umbers said the cuts followed three previous "waves" of job losses that had seen the company shed almost half the space it occupies in its 10-storey Melbourne headquarters.

Mr Umbers said he was not "keen to dwell on departures" but confirmed about 50 people would lose their jobs.

Myer recorded a drop in sales in the first two weeks of December.

Myer recorded a drop in sales in the first two weeks of December.

Photo: Louie Douvis
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"It is with sadness that we farewell a number of team members as a result of these changes. I would like to thank them for their contribution and years of commitment to Myer," he said.

Mr Umbers said the job losses reflected a push on efficiency and productivity that had seen the company automate and digitise many functions, including payroll and merchandising which lessened the need for manual processing.

Mr Cripsey's new role will see him retain his responsibilities as chief digital and data officer, but he will have broader remit over physical stores and marketing as well.

Mr Umbers said the promotion partly reflected the importance of the digital environment to modern retail.

Myer chief executive Richard Umbers is pushing efficiency as sales decline.

Myer chief executive Richard Umbers is pushing efficiency as sales decline.

Photo: Supplied

Mr Cripsey said digital was "powering" the changing landscape.

Mr Chadwick takes on the job having most recently worked as chief financial officer at Spotless. Myer's newly minted chairman Garry Hounsell was chairman at Spotless prior to its takeover by Downer EDI.

Myer did not release any details of the executives' remuneration, and Mr Umbers declined to comment beyond stating the required disclosures would be made in the company's annual report later this year.

The restructure comes after the retailer reported a 5 per cent drop in sales in the first two weeks of December and faced ongoing public criticism from major shareholder Solomon Lew's Premier Investments.

"Recent trading conditions have been tough, in part as a result of reduced traffic to physical stores," Mr Umbers said in a statement to the ASX on Thursday, but he declined to discuss Christmas trading performance any further.

The company is due to release its results in March but has not yet publicly nominated a date.

Mr Umbers said the restructure reflected the need for Myer to have the correct systems in place to meet customer expectations.

"In order to deliver that in a first class competitive way requires you to have an organisational model behind the scenes that can deliver that efficiently," he said.

Myer is also trying to shrink its footprint, having shut five stores since 2015 with another four set to close and 19 up for consideration if it can't negotiate cheaper leases.

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Myer shares were down almost 2 per cent for the day at 64 cents just ahead of the market close in Sydney.

with Reuters

Mathew Dunckley

Mathew Dunckley is business editor for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. Based in our Melbourne newsroom, Mathew has almost 20 years as a journalist and editor.

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