David Jones has opened its seventh floor ‘shoe heaven’ the first stage of a $400 million redevelopment of its flagship Sydney store.
The new shoe level represents the first stage of the store’s seven-stage, $400 million refurbishment, jointly funded by David Jones’ South African owners Woolworths and brand partners.
After Woolworths wrote down the value of David Jones by $712.5 million earlier this year the retailer is hoping the refit can bring in big-spending tourists and create a shop that reflects the heritage of its 180-year-old brand.
The renovations have taken three years of planning.
The seventh-floor ballroom, which once held a banquet for Queen Elizabeth II, now houses mini-boutiques for top-end brands with 80 per cent of floor stock exclusive to David Jones.
Chief executive David Thomas says the Australian retail market had been challenging over the past few years but the boutiques would provide a unique experience.
Along with bricks and mortar, David Jones has been investing in online retail, rolling out a new e-commerce platform in May which has seen sales increase by 50 per cent.
It plans for online to make up 10 per cent of sales by 2020.
David Jones will tie together its online and in-store sales with consistently good service, Mr Thomas said, and getting that service level right will help David Jones drive its targets.
He said Australia was ‘definitely ready’ for a better type of service.