SYDNEY — The wraps are due to come off Australian department store David Jones’ first international unit in Wellington, New Zealand on July 28, the company said Tuesday.
Refurbishments are underway at the 152-year-old Wellington department store Kirkcaldie & Stains at 165-177 Lambton Quay. Last July, Kirkcaldie & Stains shareholders voted for David Jones to take over the store’s brand name and lease in a deal worth 400,000 Australian dollars, or $292,000 at July 2015 exchange, in cash.
One of 10 new stores to be added to the 40-unit, Woolworths South Africa-owned David Jones chain over the next five years, David Jones Wellington will operate across three floors, offering a mix of fashion, beauty, accessories and home wares and a “premium” café, the company said.
The store will also feature the new David Jones store design concept that was unveiled in October in the two-floor, 118,403-square-foot store in Melbourne’s Eastland Shopping Centre. The design is a collaboration between the David Jones in-house store development team and London-based agency Dalziel & Pow.
“We’re dedicated to delivering a world-class department store in Wellington and are confident we will exceed expectations when we open in July,” said David Jones chief operating officer David Thomas. “We are bringing a truly special retail experience to this cosmopolitan city.”
David Jones’ surprising decision to open its first New Zealand store in Wellington, the country’s capital but second-largest city with a population of just 496,000 — compared to Auckland’s 1.5 million — has stimulated the city’s retail leasing market. This has been most notably seen at the prime “Golden Mile” end of Lambton Quay, between Woodward and Willis Streets, where vacancies dropped to zero in the six months to March, CBRE New Zealand reported.
New arrivals in the precinct include Storm, Mecca Cosmetica, Crabtree & Evelyn and Seed Heritage, with the LVMH-owned Australian bush outfitter RM Williams due to open its first New Zealand store on Willis Street this weekend, soon to be joined by Timberland. Topshop’s New Zealand licensees have also revealed plans to open a Wellington store this year.
“The impending David Jones store opening has put a real focus on Wellington as an important retail destination,” said Colliers International associate Ty Dallas.