Australia’s go to hardware store Bunnings Warehouse has removed their iconic slogan promising the ‘lowest prices’.
The brand has slowly stripped warehouses, TV and radio advertisements and staff uniforms of the slogan: ‘Lowest prices are just the beginning’ that has been around for 25 years.
The hardware giant claims the slogan’s removal won’t affect prices for customers but retail experts are suggesting online shopping has put pressure on the store.
The removal of the slogan comes as Australia’s retail sector is plunged into a crisis.
Bunnings Warehouse has removed their signature slogan ‘Lowest prices are just the beginning’
Bunnings Managing Director Mike Schneider said the removal of the slogan was a way to ‘refresh’ and ‘upgrade’ the store’s brand.
‘After 25 years, customers understand our lowest prices policy and price guarantee, so we thought it was timely to update and refresh our branding,’ Mr Schneider said in a statement to Daily Mail Australia.
‘We started this in 2018 and will slowly be making the changes to our buildings as we open new stores and refresh our store network.’
He stressed that there would be no changes to the low prices guarantee.
‘We are incredibly and genuinely committed to our policy of lowest prices. We invest over $5 million a year in a very robust system to constantly check competitor’s prices online and in store, nationally and regionally,’ Mr Schneider said.
‘In stores, we have pricing integrity team members who check the local market.’
Mr Schneider also said the slogan’s removal was not a result of competing with prices at other department stores and added it was not gone forever.
But Steve Collinge, a retail consultant, said the pressures of online shopping was going to give Bunnings a ‘headache’.
‘Bunnings knows that consumers will continue to buy online in increasing numbers and this will provide them with a real headache,’ he told news.com.au.
The store’s CEO said the removal of the slogan wouldn’t mean any difference to prices for shoppers
‘Bunnings is a great brand but it’s hamstrung by its monster stores that have very high fixed costs. That means nimbler competitors with a much lower costs base are able to come in with cheaper prices.’
Professor Gary Mortimer from the University of Queensland Business School said he didn’t think the slogan’s disappearance would have any affect.
‘I genuinely don’t think consumers will notice the signs missing,’ Professor Mortimer told Daily Mail Australia.
‘I think that’s ultimately because that slogan is embedded into consumer’s psyches. When we think of Bunnings we think of the slogan ‘Lowest prices are just the beginning’.
Professor Mortimer said he didn’t believe shoppers would see a price increase as a result.
‘I think it’s simply the case so they’re not pigeon holed into the low prices appeal and that they can promote other important attributes such as quality of service and range.’
Bunnings has been slowly removing the slogan since last month on its staff aprons, warehouses and commercials
The removal of Bunnings’ slogan comes during Australia’s retail apocalypse.
Retailers across Australia have been forced to enter into voluntary administration as shoppers turn their attention to online stores.
Dropping like FLIES: Some of Australia’s recent retail casualties
2016: Dick Smith, Masters hardware, Payless Shoes
2017: Topshop Australia
2018: Avon, Espirit, Toys ‘R’ Us, Max Brenner, Roger David
2019: Ed Harry, Diana Ferrari, Napoleon Perdis, Ziera, Bardot, Harris Scarfe
2020: Jeans West , Collete Hayman, EB Games, Co-op bookstore
On top of this, retailers are blaming shopping mall landlords for jacking up the rent.
Within the last year, several big brands collapsed including fashion retailers Bardot and Jeans West and gaming store EB Games.
Retail Doctor Group, a business consultancy, said Australia could be left with fewer traditional shops unless changes were made to combat the rise of online commerce giants like Amazon.
‘We haven’t even reached base camp with what’s about to change,’ the group’s chief executive Brian Walker previously told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Twenty-five years ago, there was a little online bookshop opening in Seattle, that business now turns over $250 billion a year.’
Mr Walker said shopping mall owners were increasing rents, which put the squeeze, particularly on fashion retailers that were struggling with slower sales revenue.
Shop owners in downturn Sydney last year paid an average of $12,825 a month in rent, data from real estate group Colliers showed.
As of September last year, Australia’s retail sector grew at the slowest pace since the 1991 recession.
Harris Scarfe, (pictured), founded in 1849, took consumers by surprise when it entered administration in December and is now about to close at least 21 stores
The news has since worsened with Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released last week showing retail trade grew by just 0.3 per cent in 2019 – the slowest annual growth rate on record.
Business advisory firm BDO’s national leader for retail, Mark Schiavello, said retailers needed to adapt to survive.
‘Today’s shopper doesn’t go to a store to transact, that can be done anywhere, anytime,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘They go to stores to experience, feel and connect with a brand.’
HOW CAN SHOPPING CENTRES SURVIVE?
Brian Walker, the chief executive of the Retail Doctor Group, told Daily Mail Australia shopping malls will have to quickly adapt to the modern customer’s demands.
This includes offering community activities, expertise, and a series of extra offerings – making going to a shopping centre an ‘experience’.
‘I think the signs are already there,’ he said. ‘That the great retailers won’t think about retail so much, they’ll think about brand.
‘Shopping centres are trying to adapt into this model by offering great shopping and dwelling experiences.
‘They will think increasingly about their brand and how customers will be attracted there.
‘The A-Grade centres, the Chadstones of this world, they will flourish. They’ll be fine, and we see that globally – the Harrods and so forth, they’ll be fine.
‘And we’ll see a return to the community hubs, and those will have much more interactions with their communities – evening classes, education, much more community focus.
‘There’ll be less focus on the product sales, because that will be going on online. There’ll be much more focus on expertise, knowledge, uniqueness and experience.’