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Sunday, 18 March 2018 05:12 pm

David Jones wows crowd and employee


leadimageDJWellington’s fascination with the new David Jones store was enough for the doors to be closed for a short time because of ope
ning day crowds.

Opening the doors to the department store’s first site outside Australia at 9am on Thursday was labelled “historic” by chief executive John Dixon.

The 178-year-old company spent more than $20 million developing the premises, which had previously been home to department store Kirkcaldie and Stains for 150 years.

David Jones will operate over three levels and include men’s and women’s fashion, beauty products, accessories, homewares, and a cafe on the third floor.

Store management introduced NewsWire to one of the company’s new local employees, retail assistant Molly Brain (19) to talk about the experience.

“We had to close the doors at one point just to not let anyone else in. It was getting too hectic,” Molly says.

She believes Wellington is an ideal demographic for the new store.

“Plus, with Kirks going it was perfect timing. It pretty much fit right in.”

The store aims to offer a high-end retail experience and will include VIP suites for dignitaries, celebrities and other special customers, as well as a personal shopping option which will allow shoppers to be styled from head to toe.

“It’s all done by appointment, so you call ahead and describe your event, describe your style, your size, your colours, and then your personal shopper organises it all for you.

“You come in, try it on, have a glass of champagne and we suss it all out,” says Molly.

She says that while they intend to cater to as many people as they can, David Jones is essentially a luxury store.

catimagedj“The David Jones brand itself is a lot cheaper though, because they want to cater to your everyday person, but then you’ve got your Valentino shoes going for $2000,” she says.

The store offers New Zealand brands like Trelise Cooper and Karen Walker, along with their usual designer brands and the David Jones brand.

“So they’ve tried to incorporate a bit of everything.”

Molly says the store isn’t worried about competition from online retail stores.

“You can’t really get a feel for what things are like. Pictures don’t do it justice. And if you come in here we can give you a bit more advice, and show you things that might actually be better suited to you.

“We are trying to provide a service that goes above and beyond anything you’re going to get anywhere else.”

Neighbouring businesses gave a mixed response to the opening.

“I’m all for it because it brings more people into the CBD. This was kind of a dead zone while Kirks was closed,” says Anna Walravan (24) of The Flower Boutique.

John Hedge (63), from Lambton Quay’s Bags of Difference, noted David Jones had a lot of bags in the window, but at $1,500 they represented a very different market to his.

Nicky Mahon (29) of Zebrano believes cruise ships over summer will bring more tourists to her store than David Jones will.

Sarah Steven (38), from Mojo cafe, is a fan: “I’m for it.”


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