Debenhams headed to Australia

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Pepkor has struck a partnership deal to bring UK-based department store, Debenhams, to Australia in 2016.

Pepkor, part of the international retail giant, Steinhoff Group, and owner of Australian department store chain, Harris Scarfe, becomes a franchise partner of Debenhams in the deal which will see Debenhams enter the southern hemisphere for the first time with a phased entry approach.

The UK department store trades out of more than 240 stores across 27 countries, and in the UK has a top three market position in womenswear and menswear and a top 10 share in childrenswear. It holds the number two market position in premium health and beauty.

Jason Murray, MD of Pepkor South East Asia, said, “we are delighted to have secured this partnership with Debenhams. The wholesale arrangement will augment our efforts to revitalise and grow the Harris Scarfe business, while the franchise stores will complement our Harris Scarfe stores and add to our back office scale.”

Murray said the stores  will be contemporary, smaller scale flagships “which will be genuine modern department stores”.

Pepkor-owned department store chain, Harris Scarfe, will manage the three-pronged agreement which will see Debenhams product, including the famous ‘Designers at Debenhams’ range, wholesaled and retailed within selected Harris Scarfe stores; standalone Debenhams franchise stores open in flagship retail centres; and a dedicated, Debenhams led e-commerce channel launch in Australia.

Graham Dean, CEO of Harris Scarfe, said the partnership takes the development of Harris Scarfe forward a further significant step.

“For our loyal customers, the partnership brings access to an exciting range of credible, international department store brands. For our team, the opportunity to be part of one of the most exciting department store stories in the region, and our supply and property partners will appreciate the addition of such a clearly differentiated and exclusive range that will make us an even stronger destination for all lovers of shopping,” Dean said.

The rollout complements the growth strategy for Harris Scarfe, which is opening new or refurbished Harris Scarfe department stores in Eastlands, Shellharbour, and Epping in coming weeks.

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