By Aimee Chanthadavong

David Jones will be opening a new store in a “high value”, growing area of south west Brisbane in the Indooroopilly Shopping Centre.

The 14,200 square metre, full-line David Jones department store will be part of the centre’s $450 million redevelopment and expansion. Construction is set to begin in the first quarter of 2012, with the store set to open in the first quarter of 2014.

Speaking to RetailBiz, Helen Karlis, David Jones spokesperson, defended the company’s plan to open the new store, after being asked about the justification for opening a new store despite reports of flat Christmas sales.

“First and foremost it is important to remember that our store portfolio is much smaller than that of our major competitor.  We have only 36 stores all of which generate profit,” she said.

“We have announced that we are opening six new stores over the FY13-FY16 period in metropolitan high growth, high value areas where we are under-represented.  These new stores represent an infill in our store portfolio to optimise our representation in attractive demographie.”

Indooroopilly Shopping Centre is the largest of three regional centres servicing the south-west corridor of Brisbane and is the predominant fashion offering in the region. Despite having three shopping centres servicing it, the South West Brisbane corridor has very low department store penetration levels, which means there is significant opportunity for a new department store entrant in the major centre of Indooroopilly.

“Given that department store penetration in the South West Brisbane corridor is currently 3.25 per cent (significantly lower than the average experience across our major suburban stores of 7.2 per cent) we believe there are substantial incremental sales available in the region which we will capture through both our new Indooroopilly store and our refurbished Toowong store,” Antony Karp, David Jones group executive of retail development and procurement, said.

According to the company, its next new store will be its Highpoint (Vic) store in the first quarter of calendar 2013. Next up is Indooroopilly (Qld) in the first quarter of calendar 2014 followed by Pacific Fair (Qld), Macquarie (NSW), Whitford (WA) and Sunshine Coast (Qld) which are expected to open in the FY14 – FY16 period.

Earlier in the week David Jones was also named by Deutsche Bank as a potential buyout target for overseas investors but commenting on it Karlis said: “This is pure speculation that we do not as a rule of thumb comment on other than to say we have not to date been approached with any such proposition.”