Australian clothing retailer David Jones has officially announced plans to open its first Auckland flagship store in Newmarket’s 277. We talked to CEO David Thomas about what to expect from the new store, and the impact of Amazon on its Australian offering.
Broadway is now officially to be home of the second New Zealand David Jones, after opening in Wellington just two years previous.
Now the move will see its second flagship right in Newmarket. This will create 150 jobs.
Thomas says the store is expected to be bigger than its Wellington counterpart as the brand works to cater to the Auckland consumer.
“We really wanted to do Auckland, we assessed the market and had a closer consideration of the right developments and the right size store and the right neighbors. Because we already own Country Road and Witchery, our knowledge of the Newmarket market is very strong, and we know this is the fashion capital.”
Thomas says there's a need for more research as David Jones looks towards the opening of its Auckland store.
“We already know a bit about the customer here because of those brands that are here. But we will do a lot of research about the customer and we will edit and curate our offer towards exactly what we think needs to be here.”
The new store in the 277 shopping centre will not open without competition in surrounding areas, yet Thomas says understanding its competition has been the key to success for Wellington and will be repeated here.
“We absolutely understand the competition, one of the key elements in the way that we run our business is by understanding the competition and how our strategy plays out.”
After dealing with similar price-point players such as Smith and Caughey’s and Trelise Cooper, Thomas says research is going into knowing the customer are of high importance to make sure David Jones stays ahead.
“The best way for us to deal with competition is to make sure we know that customer and we get the right product and price proposition and total service proposition with the best-looking store – and we have been working on that for our customers.”
Although Auckland competition will be a bother for David Jones, it is merely a small thorn in the side compared to its newest Australian competition – Amazon.
“I think Amazon is really interesting, it is a wonderful business,” says Thomas. “They effectively changed the way that we need to operate as a business.”
“There have been many other competitors come into the market but Amazon will be the most disruptive over time. We’re very clear that we need to be more of a digitally lead business in the way that we operate. And that has made us rethink and reinvest in what is important now. But ultimately, we see it as an opportunity to combine a digital business with a bricks business. It’s very clear that customers still want [physical stores] and Amazon can’t really compete with that.”
David Jones has been running since 1838 and operates 35 stores across Australia. Now its Auckland flagship will add to the mix 1700 brands including its own David Jones line.