The wagons have been circling for months.
But now fans of Wellington’s luxury department store David Jones have had their worst fears realised with confirmation the store will close in June 2022, however its Auckland store will remain open.
The flagship store, which opened on Lambton Quay in the heart of the city’s Golden Mile in July 2016, is understood to have told its employees on Wednesday that the business will shut its doors.
The store is home to some of the world’s most prestigious fashion brands, including the likes of Alexander McQueen, Chanel, Christian Louboutin, Prada and Versace.
The Australian chain took over the lease of Wellington retail institution Kirkcaldie & Stains which wound down its operations after more than 150 years in business.
“In line with our retail network strategy, David Jones (Australia) has made the decision to close our Wellington store in June 2022.
The decision had not been made lightly. “We sincerely thank our customers and our team for their support and commitment,” a company spokesperson said.
David Jones’ parent company, Woolworths Holdings – which is headquartered in South Africa – told the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in September of its intention to close up to 10 stores in New Zealand and Australia.
The planned restructure was to be completed within two years.
But with Woolworths Holdings unwilling to name which stores it intended to close, it was unclear what the announcement meant for David Jones’ stores in Auckland and Wellington. Now the capital’s store’s fate has been sealed.
David Jones opened its 7000-square-metre Auckland outlet in the revamped Westfield Newmarket complex in November 2019, despite “aggressively” closing stores in Australia as profits plunged.
A statement from the company on Wednesday said it was looking forward to introducing David Jones online to all customers in the second half of 2022, closely following the Wellington store closure.
“As the retail sector continues to transform, including the accelerated shift to online, the optimisation of our retail network – through investment in our digital and physical channels, a focus on right-sizing where necessary, consolidation of our physical footprint – is critical to meeting the changing needs of our customers,” a spokesperson said.