Coughlan, chair of the council’s economic growth and arts committee, said Wellington is well placed to attract new businesses and investment into the capital.
“When the doors to David Jones open tomorrow Wellingtonians will see first hand what our great little city can offer to world-class retailers,” she said. “This is a big vote of confidence in the potential of Wellington, with investment in the Lambton Quay store likely to exceed $20 million.
“This potentially award-winning design could have a flow-on effect to other retail sites. Already we see requests for retail space on Lambton Quay are outstripping supply. Growth in the CBD is outpacing growth in Auckland.”
Coughlan said John Milford, chief executive of Business Central and the Wellington Chamber of Commerce, had recently implied that it’s almost time to put up the ‘no vacancy’ signs on Lambton Quay. With vacancy on Lambton Quay below two percent, Milford said that Lambton Quay had among the highest foot traffic in New Zealand, meaning it would inevitably be strong, but the impending arrival of a new flagship would raise its profile.
“You only need to look at the new development on and around Lambton Quay – Topshop opening in Capital on the Quay, R.M. Williams open on Willis St, the new PwC Wellington Office underway in the regenerated Kumutoto Precinct, and the new Whitireia/WelTec Campus transforming the Cuba quarter.”
Retail NZ has also welcomed the impending launch and says the opening of David Jones in Wellington is good news for shoppers and retailers alike.
“The fact that David Jones has chosen Wellington for the site of its first international store is a real vote of condidence in the future of the New Zealand retail market, and that of Wellington in particular,” said Greg Harford, Retail NZ’s general manager for public affairs. “David Jones is the latest in a a steady stream of international stores to be opening up in New Zealand, bringing new brands and new offerings to consumers.
“The fact that international retailers are still opening stores, and are doing so in New Zealand, shows that there is a bright future for retailing. Online retailing is now a fixed part of any retail offer – but to build a strong brand in the minds of customers, most retailers need both an online and physical presence. Internationally, even global e-commerce giants like Amazon and Ali Baba are investing into bricks and mortars – so we’re seeing increasing convergence of the digital and physical shopping worlds.
“New Zealand retailers remain competitively disadvantaged by Government inaction to level the playing field with international retailers like Amazon in relation to GST, but if firms are selling goods inside New Zealand from a physical store, they will be collecting GST on sales.
“Evidence suggests that the arrival of big international brands like David Jones in Wellington and Zara in Sylvia Park will have a positive effect on nearby retailing. They will draw larger numbers of shoppers, and this will have positive spillover effects into nearby stores. In the case of David Jones, it will be a real drawcard for shoppers coming to downtown Wellington, and we expect it will add to the vibrancy of the CBD.”