David Jones today announced its intention to enter the New Zealand market for the first time with the launch of David Jones in Wellington next year. This will be the first David Jones store to open outside Australia, marking a significant moment in the department store’s 177-year history. David Jones Chief Executive Officer, Iain Nairn said, "This is an exciting new venture for David Jones, giving us a significant initial presence in New Zealand’s growing market with a prime location in the thriving capital, Wellington.”

David Jones will open its New Zealand flagship store in Lambton Quay, Wellington on the site of department store Kirkcaldie & Stains. Under an agreement subject to a number of conditions precedent, including Kirkcaldie & Stains shareholder approval, David Jones will take a lease assignment of the store and purchase the brand name when Kirkcaldie & Stains ceases to trade early next year. It also intends to offer employment to the majority of the current Kirkcaldie & Stains retail workforce.

“We were excited when Kirkcaldie & Stains approached us. David Jones is a recognised brand in New Zealand and we’re confident this beautiful building in this cosmopolitan city is the perfect home for our first New Zealand store. We are proud to reinvigorate the historic retail space and maintain it as the home of New Zealand’s premium department store, when we open David Jones Wellington next year.”

Mr Nairn said the launch of David Jones in Wellington aims to inspire New Zealand shoppers, offering them access to an extensive selection of quality brands. “We’ll be bringing an edit of our range to the market to offer New Zealanders an expanded assortment

of Australian, international and private label brands. We’re also looking forward to seeing more from New Zealand designers.”

David Jones will take on the Kirkcaldie & Stains lease when they close in February 2016 and is set to open for trade in Wellington in mid-2016 following an internal upgrade of the department store. David Jones Wellington will reflect the department store’s “Next Generation” store concept with a fully modernised interior.

Commenting on the redesign Nairn said, “We will preserve the heritage-listed frontage whilst completely renovating the interior. Our aim is to create a world class shopping environment with the quality finishings and latest retail technology that shoppers expect from a premium department store.”

David Jones will be the fifth Woolworths Holdings Limited (WHL) company to launch into New Zealand, joining successful brands Country Road, Witchery, Trenery and Mimco. WHL currently employs more than 500 staff in New Zealand and the David Jones Wellington store will be its 36th in the country.

Nairn, who was CEO of Witchery Group and then Country Road Group before taking the helm at David Jones, said the success of these brands and a positive experience launching Witchery and Mimco in New Zealand had, in part, influenced the department store’s response to the opportunity. David Jones was acquired by WHL in August 2014, making WHL one of the top ten global department store operators, focussed on the Southern Hemisphere.