Harding Brothers secures P&O Cruises Australia retail contract; sets up Australian office – 13/10/09
Source: ©The Moodie Report
By Martin Moodie
AUSTRALIA. Harding Brothers Retail has been awarded the onboard retail contract for P&O Cruises Australia, beating off what it described as “intense tender competition from global and local concessionaires”.
P&O Cruises Australia is the dominant Australian brand of Carnival Australia, and part of the cruise company’s ambitious fleet expansion.
Carnival Australia is the largest cruise ship operator in Australasia, representing P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, P&O World Voyages, Cunard, Costa and Seabourn.
P&O Cruises Australia currently has two ships sailing from Sydney year round – the Pacific Dawn (now based in Sydney but moving to Brisbane in December) and the Pacific Sun, with destinations to Queensland, South Pacific, East Coast Australia, Fiji, Samoa, New Zealand and Tahiti.
Two additional ships will come into service over the next two years: the Pacific Jewel in December 2009 – currently sailing as Ocean Village Two in the Mediterranean, and the Pacific Pearl in December 2010, currently sailing as Ocean Village. Both will be based in Sydney.
Surf clothing will be an integral element of the localized product mix onboard the Australasian cruise ships
Harding Brothers currently operates the retail shops on both the Ocean Village cruise ships. Harding Brothers Managing Director Harold Gittelmon commented: “Carnival announced at the end of 2008 that it would be closing the Ocean Village brand, which was obviously disappointing for Harding Brothers. However, to have won this lucrative contract with Carnival Australia, thus retaining our presence on the ex-Ocean Village ships – being transferred to the P&O Cruises Australia fleet – as well as the additional business with Pacific Pearl and Pacific Jewel is incredibly exciting for the company.”
“Carnival took the decision to cease the Ocean Village brand and transfer the fleet based on its forecasts for growth in Australia and at Harding Brothers we too see fantastic opportunities for the retail business in this region.
“Cruise spend per head from Australia is one of the highest within the mass market sector of the industry and continues to hold up well despite the current economic climate,” added Gittelmon.
To properly service the new business, Harding Brothers is establishing a regional office – Harding Australia – to ensure that local requirements can be met while retaining the advantages of central organisation.
The new office will be headed by Ian Dahl, who brings extensive retail business experience to the company with a career that spans major department stores, speciality fashion chains, luxury and mainstream jewellery, gifts and accessories, apparel manufacturing and wholesale.
"By thinking and acting creatively and differently we can continue to offer guests a truly unique shopping experience"
Currently Dahl is partner and Managing Director of start-up lingerie retail business, La Senza (www.lasenza.com) in Australia based in Sydney, prior to which he was non-executive director of The Just Group, the largest fashion apparel retailer in Australia. From 1999-2002 he held the position of Chief Executive UK Operations – Signet Group, the largest UK jewellery retailer; and earlier was Chairman and Chief Executive – Asprey Group.
"We are becoming much more focused in linking our retail offer with the itineraries of each cruise ship to make shopping onboard a far more integral part of the whole holiday experience"
“I cannot think of a more professional and internationally experienced retailer than Ian Dahl and I am absolutely delighted that he will be heading up the Australian arm of Harding Brothers,” said Gittelmon. “I have had the pleasure of working with Ian in the past and know that, apart from bringing incredible expertise in retail store operations, buying, merchandising and financial management, he will contribute true vision, creativity and dynamism to the business.”
COPING WITH DOWNTURN
Commenting on the impact of the troubled global and Australasian economic environment, Gittelmon noted: “We are working doubly hard to adapt our retail offer to meet the global economic downturn.
“Without losing sight of our core values, we are examining our retail strategies to ensure that we meet the needs of the cruise customer in all the regions that we cover – whether luxury or mass market. That means creating a much stronger value offer; fine tuning the range – particularly in areas such as watches and jewellery – and gearing up our onboard activities with more dynamic, exciting, innovative and stronger promotions, special events and unveilings.
“Importantly, we are also becoming much more focused in linking our retail offer with the itineraries of each cruise ship to make shopping onboard a far more integral part of the whole holiday experience.
“Additionally we are working hard to ensure that our products onboard are competitive with those items found onshore at destination ports. It’s a tough world out there but at Harding Brothers we believe that by thinking and acting creatively and differently we can continue to offer guests a truly unique shopping experience. That will certainly also be our philosophy for the P&O Australia fleet and we are incredibly excited to be part of Carnival’s future in this region.”
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