By Claire Reilly

David Jones is following the cue of Costco with the announcement that it has entered into an agreement to open a new department store in Ringwood, eastern Melbourne. With an 11,000 square metre footprint, the department store will be a smaller retail space for David Jones, and is set to incorporate the company’s new “next generation store” layout, which already exist at its Highpoint and Malvern stores in Victoria.

According to a statement from David Jones, the next generation concept store will feature a 75:25 mix of Fashion and Beauty versus Home categories and a layout incorporateing elements such as "in-store click and collect pick-up stations, traffic analytics, complimentary customer Wi-Fi [and] customer dwell areas with charging stations”.

The David Jones store will also integrate new technology into the shopping experience by offering the opportunity to shop online with David Jones inside the store. In addition, DJs is set to roll-out new omni mirrors in the Ringwood store — smart displays that enable customers to “post images of merchandise on social media or to email family and friends”.

The new department store will be built as part of a $575 million redevelopment of Eastland Shopping Centre, spearheaded by QIC Global Real Estate. This which will see the shopping centre increase in size by approximately 50 per cent t o127,000 square metre and become the fifith largest shopping centre in Victoria. Other major retailers such as Kmart, Big W, Coles and Woolworths, as well as a Hoyts cinema complex and over 350 specialty stores will housed in the shopping centre.

The David Jones store is set to open in the 2016 financial year, coinciding with the expiry of the lease on David Jones’ Glen Waverley store, 12 kilometres away.

David Jones CEO Paul Zahra, who announced his impending departure from the retailer last week, alluded to the Glen Waverley store in his comments on the new development.

“In deciding to open a new store at Eastland Shopping Centre (Vic) we have given careful consideration to our optimal store portfolio size in light of our omni channel retail strategy, as well as the location of our existing stores and our upcoming lease expiries,” he said.

“The location of our new Eastland Shopping Centre store compliments our omni channel retail strategy. It enables us to capitalise on the growth expected in the Ringwood catchment as a result of the significant redevelopment of the shopping centre and the surrounding catchment as well as the extensive investment in upgrading the existing transportation network.”

According to David Jones, almost 2.5 million people live within a 30 minute driving radius of Eastland shopping Centre and Ringwood Town Centre, and those residents “generate annual retail expenditure of approximately $32.6 billion”.

No doubt shedding light on why QIC and big box retailers such as Costco have been lured to the area, David Jones added that “more than 30 per cent of the households in the primary Ringwood trade area have incomes that are more than 20 per cent higher than the Melbourne average”.