Locally known as Kirks or Kirkcaldie’s, the store closed at 5pm on Saturday evening when the doorman pulled the mat inside and shuttered the door.
It is the oldest store in New Zealand still trading under its original name, dating back to 1863, and has been Wellington’s leading department store for generations. Kirks has been running a closing-down sale for some time.
A farewell message from the store’s management said Wellington was losing a “revered institution” but shoppers could look forward to a David Jones store opening on the site mid-year.
“It is the end of an era in so many ways for so many people, our staff both present and past, our suppliers and our customers from Wellington, from around New Zealand and around the world,” the message posted on the store’s website says.
“We thank you sincerely for your part in the life and times of our iconic store.”
Shareholders voted last year to sell the struggling brand and assign the store lease to Australian retailer David Jones.
According to an Overseas Investment Office consent, David Jones, which is owned by South Africa’s Woolworths, paid $NZ1 for the lease but planned to spend about $US20 million ($A29.20 million) refurbishing the Lambton Quay premises.