Australian department store David Jones will open the doors to its 7000 sq m Auckland store in Westfield Newmarket in mid-November.
The two-level store located at 277 Broadway in Newmarket will be around 3500 sq m per floor and home to hundreds of brands, interactive fitting rooms, a 'beauty hall', two personal shopping suites and a designer accessories area. It aims to combine the best of local and international brands, including new-to-market brands, "in one place".
Work is currently under way on the initial fit out and in the next couple of months, the store will be handed over to the shop fitters to decorate and introduce the David Jones branding.
The up-market retailer will next week kick off its recruitment drive for the store, looking to hire more than 100 staff, including sales reps, stylists, marketing and logistics specialists.
David Jones first entered the New Zealand market in July 2016 when it opened its Wellington store, in the former Kirkcaldie & Stains building. Ever since then an Auckland store has been hotly-anticipated by consumers.
David Jones retail director Aaron Faraguna said progress on the Auckland store was tracking to schedule, and that the retail chain, owned by South African multinational Woolworths Holdings, was excited to open its second New Zealand store.
"We'll have all the categories in the store; everything from beauty to food, men's wear, women's wear, home, beds and furniture," Faraguna said.
"We've got two personal shopping suites, upgraded interactive fitting rooms, we've got a beauty hall with all the best local and international but also an area that is brand-agnostic where we can bring in hot new labels and cosmetics brands that the market may not have seen before - we'll be able to flip brands in and out, that's a relatively new concept."
Faraguna said the size of the Auckland store was considered relatively small compared to its other stores in Australia, though it would be about 10 per cent bigger than the David Jones store trading in Lambton Quay - and among the biggest in the Westfield Newmarket mall redevelopment.
"We treat all of our markets and all our customers very individually - there will be some very different brands and offers in Auckland that you may not find in Wellington."
For its Wellington opening, the department store giant brought a selection of retailers previously only available in boutiques, including Camilla and Marc, Shona Joy, Aesop and Tom Ford among a selection of its brands.
David Jones was also the first store in New Zealand to offer renowned international labels Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Valentino and Saint Laurent.
Faraguna said David Jones was looking to expand and open more stores in New Zealand. "We're not in any active discussions with landlords at this stage but should any suitable opportunities arise we would be happy to look at them.
"New Zealand is a growing population and a growing economy, it's a fantastic market for retail. New Zealanders love their brands and love to shop."
David Jones is currently finalising its New Zealand online store - which will go live later this year.
Newmarket Business Association chief executive Mark Knoff-Thomas said David Jones would draw more shoppers to the Newmarket area.
"Having a mega-department store name or brand like David Jones bringing in all of their brands is incredibly exciting and will be a great compliment to what we've already got, it will bring in more consumers and increase our catchment area," Knoff-Thomas said.
"There's a lot of interest in David Jones because of how quality the offering is... A new offering with David Jones and other retailers and hospitality providers coming into Westfield Newmarket will expand that reach even more exponentially."
Spending in Newmarket was around $550 million in the last financial year, around 16 per cent down on the previous year - a great result, Knoff-Thomas said, considering the area had lost many carparks and a supermarket following the redevelopment of Scentre Group's Westfield site.
Both redeveloped Westfield mall sites are expected to be open by November.
Knoff-Thomas said the association expected the Newmarket economy to increase with David Jones and other global retailers coming on board.
"We expect to be nudging past $1 billion in the next 12 to 18 months."
David Jones has 46 department stores across Australia.