Does Australia have room for another department store? 99



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When it comes to “premium” department stores, Myer and David Jones currently rule over all. But they could soon have some fierce competition from the UK.

One of Britain’s largest multinational retailers, Debenhams, is finally moving into the southern hemisphere, starting with Australia.

According to Inside Retail, Pepkor (the owner of Australian retailer Harris Scarfe) has signed up as a franchise partner. They will begin by introducing Debenhams designer sections to existing Harris Scarfe stores, with the plan to later oversee the introduction of full-scale retail shops.

It’s likely the famous UK store will bring some very hefty competition to our current department stores. They already have 240 stores across 27 countries, and are one of Europe’s top players in health, beauty and clothing for both men and women.

Michael Simotas, a spokesperson for Deutsche Bank, told The Sydney Morning Herald that this “could add to Myer’s challenges in an already difficult market”

“Debenhams is at a similar price point to Myer so it would be most affected in our view but Target could also see some impact,” he said.

Debenhams is just the latest in a string of international chains planning to move into Australia. Britain’s Topshop and Sweden’s H&M have both recently had high-profile launches down under, and the market isn’t getting any easier.

Major online retailer Kogan has also announced its plans to open up as a department store.

Marks & Spencer have also been hotly rumoured to be planning a trip to our neck of the woods, with scouts found searching for prominent locations in Sydney. While they have since cooled off on the idea, the Australian Financial Review suggests is only a matter of time before they make the journey too.

What do you think of this news? Would you shop at Debenhams if it opened here? Are you happy with a UK brand stealing the thunder of Australia’s existing favourites? 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Don’t shop at either stores and find Harris Scarfe a little tawdry. Target is losing the plot with women’s clothing too! Perhaps those 26yo buyers are not in touch with what older women want!

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  2. Living in the country this will probably not effect me much. We have Target and Big W and Kmart. And that as they say is that. I wish some of these nice stores would open in larger rural centers.

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    • Agree with you on country stores. When I lived in the country our town had the big two supermarkets, a Big W and a co-op. 100 k’s or so at West Wyalong we had a Grace Bros. and that was it. The GB store was too far out of the way unless it was something really special.

  3. Depends on the quality of the gear and pricing. It might just give Harris Scarfe the lift it needs. Would not mind seeing Marks and Spencer here though I remember going to those stores as a kid when I lived in England great place to shop – no idea what it is like now of course.

  4. Debenhams has a fantastic range in both quality and price and will not only challenge our current retailers who have become very lacklustre with almost the same range everywhere catering to the same younger age group and waif like bodies but bring some style and quality back into our lives. Welcome Debenhams.

  5. I used to shop at Debenhams before I came to Australia and I found Target was very similar in quality and price so I buy a lot of my clothes there, i ‘m not sure if I want to leaveTarget I’m very happy with there store,.

  6. I don’t think DJs and Myer were “stretched” when Zara opened (in Melbourne) last year – but we consumers only have a certain amount to spend, we cant keep them all going.

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