Nearly two years on from the February 22 earthquake, fashion label World is finally returning to Christchurch.

The company hasn't had a store in the city since the 2011 disaster when its retail site in the ANZ Chambers Building, in High St, was flattened.

World director Denise L'Estrange-Corbet said the new site, inside central Christchurch department store Ballantynes, will open on March 1.

The fashion label has spent the past two years scoping the city for a suitable location.


"We didn't really want a container," said L'Estrange-Corbet, referring to the Re:Start area that's been established outside Ballantynes, where retailers have set up shop inside shipping containers.

"We wanted a store that would be there for ever because a lot of the containers are just temporary."

She said World had looked at possible sites in suburban areas.

"We had a lot of people with stores and shopping centres that really wanted us to be there and we did go and look at them and talk extensively about it but we decided that World is a brand that is always in a central location," L'Estrange-Corbet said.

"We didn't really want to do the suburbs."

She said the historic Ballantynes store, which has operated for more than 150 years, was a great place to be located. "It's a big step forward for World to go back to Christchurch and we always wanted to be back there but it was just finding the right space and environment," L'Estrange-Corbet said. "Business was very good for us prior to the earthquake."

Ballantynes managing director Mary Devine said she was delighted that World was moving in.

"Post-earthquake we've really tried to reinvent our whole fashion offering," Devine said. "We have a large customer base already and [World] will get the benefit of our standing in the city."

Holly White, who was working in World's High St store when the quake hit, was lucky to survive. The then 26-year-old was thrown into the basement as the building collapsed and was covered in rubble.

She was pulled free by Jono Moran and David Pai, local business owners.

L'Estrange-Corbet said White now managed World's Wellington store.

Friday will mark the two-year anniversary of the February 22 quake.