David Jones has entered into a period of exclusive negotiations with property firm Charter Hall to purchase the department store’s recently completed Elizabeth Street flagship.
The negotiations come after David Jones’ parent company Woolworths Holdings said it would be reviewing the department store’s property portfolio as a means of cutting down on its debt.
Discussions between the two parties are so far ongoing and incomplete, but with David Jones electing to focus on realising a sale outcome on the Elizabeth Street property in the short term it could lead to an agreement.
The Elizabeth Street flagship is estimated to be worth approximately $500 million, according to the AFR, and recently underwent a $200 million refurbishment which David Jones’ outgoing-CEO Ian Moir said returned the business to its place as “the grand old dame of luxury retail”.
The refurbishment has been an ongoing impact to the department store’s sales for several years, and a sale could help to get the business back on solid ground after the difficulties the retail industry has faced during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The negotiations are the second major announcement from David Jones in the space of a week, after they revealed Country Road CEO Scott Fyfe would be stepping up as Ian Moir’s replacement come October 26.
“David Jones is one of Australia’s most iconic retail brands and is backed by an exceptionally strong culture of commitment to quality and style,” Fyfe said.
“I look forward to leading the team and working with our many partners as we focus on the changing behaviors of our customers and delivering products and experiences for the future.”
Fyfe is expected to have a particular focus on improving the business’ omnichannel capabilities – something he delivered at Country Road.