By James Wells

SYDNEY: Department store retailer and Narta member, David Jones, announced today it will open three new stores in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.

David Jones will take over the lease of the Myer store at Westfield Burwood in Sydney and open a re-branded store in April 2007.

David Jones will also sign a new lease with Westfield for a new retail site at Chermside in Brisbane to open in August 2007. Westfield Chermside, once it completes its $180 million expansion in October this year, will become the largest shopping centre in Brisbane.

The third store located at Westfield Doncaster in Melbourne, which will open in late 2008, has been a site earmarked by David Jones management for some time.

“The ability to open a David Jones store in the Doncaster centre is a real coup for the company. This centre has been at the top of the company’s wish list for some time. David Jones has not been able to establish a presence in this site previously. However, following the sale of Myer the opportunity to open a department store in one of Australia’s most lucrative markets, and to solidify its presence in the Melbourne market became available,” a company statement said.

David Jones chief executive officer, Mark McInnes, said the retailer is enjoying the first stage of strategic benefits which have resulted following the recent restructure within the department store sector.

“We expect further opportunities to present themselves as the sector continues its restructure and are confident that we are well positioned to identify and capitalise on these opportunities as and when they arise,” McInnes said.

“The [three stores] are all in strategic, high value locations with the right demographic profile and fit for the David Jones business. Once open and operating, the new stores will bring the total number of David Jones stores nationally to 37, excluding the company’s two outlet centres,” McInnes said.

“What is particularly attractive about these new stores is that they will leverage off our existing retail infrastructure and fixed cost base and deliver significant returns over time.

“Each of the new stores is expected to be a profit contributor from the first year of opening and will provide our business with significant opportunity for revenue growth over time,” McInnes said.

“We are very pleased to announce these deals which sees the introduction of a strong performing retailer like David Jones, further enhancing the quality of our centres in the Australian portfolio,” said Westfield Group Australia managing director, Robert Jordan.