David Jones is on the move, with South African owner Woolworths Holdings to set up its Australasian head office in Melbourne.The move will see the creation of a single Australasian head office for the David Jones and Country Road Group businesses, Woolworths has advised.
David Jones will join rival department store Myer in Melbourne, with Myer also operating its head office in the city.
David Jones’ corporate head office and support centre will relocate from the Sydney CBD in several steps, with the full move to be completed by mid-2018, with the Country Road head office to complete the move from its current Richmond, Victoria, location by the end of 2018.
Woolworths chief executive Ian Moir stated that “creation of a centre of retail excellence and a singular operational hub is an important step that will achieve substantial financial, operational and synergy benefits”.
“Co-location is a unique opportunity to bring our people together and create value,” Moir stated. “By harnessing the advantages of scale and proximity, we will be able to improve operational effectiveness while investing in the infrastructure and resources needed for the next phase of our growth.
“A campus location in the heart of the region’s fashion and retail capital will provide a unified sense of purpose that will foster a new level of cooperation and creative collaboration.
“This exercise is not about reducing headcount and saving employment costs. Not only will the current complement of David Jones staff remain the same, it will grow in future as the business expands.”
Woolworths stated that, “with the sale of its Market Street property progressing well”, it has “declared its intent to spend up to AUD$200 million on the redevelopment of the iconic Elizabeth Street store, providing an unparalleled customer experience”, stating it “will create a 39,000 m2 luxury department store spanning 11 levels”.
“The redevelopment of Elizabeth Street is an exciting milestone in the transformation of David Jones and will create a new benchmark in both Australian and global retail,” Moir commented.
“David Jones Elizabeth Street will have the best of contemporary store design while embracing the heritage of our iconic Sydney CBD building. We will fully utilise the building’s many remarkable spaces and restore world-class food and dining as a key element of the customer experience.”
The redevelopment will commence in the 2017 second half, with completion expected in the 2019 second half.
David Jones recently posted strong full-year sales growth, with sales increasing by 8.4 per cent in Australian dollar terms over the year ending June 26, and sales in comparable stores growing by 7 per cent.
David Jones also recently opened its first international store in Wellington, New Zealand.