Retailer David Jones is planning to sell part of its multi-site department store in Melbourne’s CBD, selling the building and consolidating the store into a single location.
The 181-year-old retailer revealed this week that it plans to sell the building housing its menswear store at 299 Bourke Street and close its operations there.
Instead, David Jones said it will consolidate all operations to its “premier” site at 310 Bourke Street and undertake refurbishments to create a new flagship store.
“A single-store flagship housing the best local and international brands in one world-class destination will create a more seamless and cohesive experience for our customers,” said Ian Moir, CEO of David Jones’ South African parent company, Woolworths Holdings Limited (WHL).
“As we near completion of the redevelopment of our Elizabeth Street flagship in Sydney, we remain committed to enhancing the in-store experience right across our retail network. We look forward to commencing the sale process and creating a new future for David Jones Bourke Street.”
Mr Moir added: “The sale of 299 Bourke Street will allow us to deliver a more integrated retail experience to customers in Melbourne’s CBD.”
Rejuvenation of the surviving site is due to start in January 2021, for completion later that year, with David Jones to focus on lifestyle and luxury brands.
The retailer said the overhaul will also seek to optimise its footprint to increase useable floor space and “enhance the in-store experience”.
It follows improvements already made at the site, including new airwalks over Little Bourke Street, updated entrances and facades externally and escalators and lifts internally, and enhancements to the store’s beauty and luxury accessories space.
David Jones said that an estate agent will be appointed to manage the sale “in the coming weeks”. Part of the sale proceeds will go towards the renovation of the remaining site, while the remainder will be reinvested across the business.
A spokesperson for the retailer declined to provide details of other changes across the network of 42 stores, stating that “further updates will be shared as and when relevant”.
According to the department store chain’s South African parent company, David Jones is “the oldest continuously operating department store in the world still trading under its original name”, having begun trading in 1838.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.