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David Jones to test waters at Barangaroo

Artist's impression of David Jones, Barangaroo SydneyThe new David Jones store being built at Sydney’s Barangaroo will be the omnichannel embodiment of the department store’s transformation strategy.

“We believe this is going to change the face of retailing for department stores in Australia we seriously believe that,” David Jones CEO, Ian Nairn, told a crowd gathered at the Barangaroo waterfront last week.

“The opening of this new store actually brings together all the things we’ve been working on over the last 12 months in terms of transformation strategy.”

The often slow­moving retailer is becoming increasingly agile in its goal to become a, ‘customer­centric, innovative, inspiring, omnichannel retailer which is connected to its customer’.

David Jones is calling the new Barangaroo store a ‘boutique’. It will be just under 1400sqm, one ­tenth the size of the average David Jones store, and will range men’s and women’s fashion and a luxury edit of beauty accessories curated specifically for the Barangaroo clientele.

The store will cover the ground and first floor of Tower Three, featuring a double height shopfront in the heart of Barangaroo’s commercial district.

Barangaroo, the waterfront commercial, residential and retail precinct being built by Lendlease, is expected to attract 38,000 professionals onsite and in its immediate vicinity, as well as footfall from domestic and international visitors to Sydney.

Due to open in October 2016, the store is yet to be designed, however Nairn instructed the crowd to visualise an edited luxury collection across beauty, fashion accessories and apparel, “and maybe food … we are working on that one,” he added.

Bricks and mortar indulgences, such as premium concierge services, personal styling and VIP rooms, will be matched with technology to allow consumers to purchase stock from the Elizabeth street store or click and collect from online.

“Customers have changed dramatically over the last 10 years, particularly in department store retailing, and David Jones needs to evolve with them,” Nairn said. “The customers of today want a relationship with their favourite brands to be personal, innovative, inspiring, convenient, but, most of all, really simple. We think we can deliver that here.”

Leif Olson, CBRE head of retail brokerage leasing, Australia, said the David Jones store at Barangaroo, “could be a game changer”.

If successful, plans for large flagship department stores may soon be replaced by concept stores with smaller footprints.

“David Jones has gone through some changes in recent times and they are probably looking to be more nimble in what they can offer and what they can do,” Olson told Inside Retail Weekly. He said David Jones will benefit from the “captive audience” at Barangaroo, who won’t necessarily have the time to go up to the traditional store on Elizabeth street.

Olson said David Jones will need to get the service and product mix right to make sure they capture those tenants and prevent them making their way into the more competitive CBD to shop.

He added that David Jones will be an anchor tenant in the Lendlease development.

“They’ve been heavily focused on the food and beverage aspect down there, this just adds some diversity to that mix,” Olson said. “It was probably missing something that David Jones is actually able to provide down at that Barangaroo precinct.”

Garry Horwitz, head of retail, Lendlease, said David Jones is a crucial piece in the retail puzzle at Barangaroo.

“The face of the department store has also changed, where big isn’t necessarily better. World-­class service, world renowned brands, premium value­add service and an exceptional shopping experience is what drives loyalty and will bring the customers back.

“These are some of the reasons why we’ve partnered with David Jones as our exclusive department store for Barangaroo,” he said.

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