David Jones

PHOTO: Department store David Jones closes its doors for the last time in Wellington today. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

The Australian retail chain is pulling out of the capital, just six years after taking over from Kirkcaldie and Stains, citing a downturn in foot traffic caused by the pandemic.

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But a retail consultant says Covid-19 is just one of many reasons why David Jones failed.

First Retail Group managing director Chris Wilkinson said the company did not build loyalty with its customers, and offered brands they could find close by in other stores.

David Jones’s slow rollout of a website did not help either, as consumers had little knowledge of what was on offer, he said.

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Wilkinson said it struggled because its brand did not resonate with customers.

“What’s driving success for department stores elsewhere in New Zealand is the fact that they’re family-owned, they own the properties that they’re occupying, they have adapted their office experiences specific to those local markets.”

Wilkinson expects to see a couple of big brands come together to occupy the Lambton Quay building.