David Jones puts customers ahead of VIPs for $200m store relaunch

David Jones is set to launch its summer season with an event for 1000 customers at its newly-refurbished Elizabeth Street store.

Instead of holding an exclusive runway for celebrities and VIPs, as it has done for the past several seasons, the company has decided to showcase the trends for its top spenders on September 4, following a more intimate media preview event at the Sydney Opera House in August.

1000 customers will be invited to help launch a revamped womens wear floor at the Sydney store.Credit:Nic Walker

The September event will unveil the revamped womenswear department, located over three floors, at the Sydney flagship, part of a $200-million redevelopment following the sale of its Market Street store.

Bridget Veals, head of womenswear, said the customer party was the biggest event of its kind the company had staged.

She said the season "presents an exciting opportunity for a refreshed start, with new enthusiasm, energy and optimism. Spring-summer collections inherently have a lightness and brightness to them, and as we come out of winter there is a natural feeling of positivity and anticipation for the season ahead."

The new store will also incorporate the introduction of 55 new brands across clothing, footwear, accessories and lingerie, details of which will be revealed at the August season preview. It is expected some international heavy hitters will be in the mix.

An artist’s impression of the new womenswear department at the redeveloped David Jones store in Elizabeth Street, Sydney, which will open in September.

David Jones is also focusing energy on brand exclusivity, including inking new deals on labels such as Mimco, which will no longer be carried at its main rival, Myer.

For its part, Myer has signed a raft of new brands, including accessories brand Belle & Bloom, Ragtrader announced this week.

The new brands will be stocked at both Elizabeth Street and the Melbourne flagship on Bourke Street Mall, as well as online.

Ms Veals said the company was working hard to improve its e-commerce platform.

"We are focused on continuing to align our online and instore offering which means our customers are able to access our entire range and the best of local and international brands on either channel," she said.

The summer launch, which feeds into peak spending periods including spring racing and Christmas, is critical for David Jones, which in February, reported sales were down 3.1 per cent in the first two months of the second half of the financial year, after a slight jump in the second half of 2018.

The store redevelopment is opening in several stages, with the ground floor cosmetics hall and accessories to open before the end of 2019. The menswear, home and food departments will all relaunch in 2020.

The new women's department also includes a refurbished Rose Clinic, a partnership between David Jones and Breast Screen Australia that offers customers aged 40 and over free breast screening.

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