Department store group Debenhams is extending its international network with new sites in Australia and Gibraltar.
The Australian store, its first in the Southern Hemisphere, opened in the prestigious St. Collins Lane shopping precinct of Melbourne in September.
The shop is the first site with franchise partner, Pepkor, part of the Steinhoff Group, and comprises 3,600sq m retail space over two levels.
Graham Dean, md of Pepkor South East Asia Department Stores, said, “This partnership heralds one of the most exciting department store stories in Australia.”
Debenhams launched a stand-alone ecommerce site for Australia in April. The brand will also wholesale selected product lines to Pepkor-owned Harris Scarfe stores as part of a multi-channel strategy to service the region.
The UK retailer has also partnered with International Franchises Limited (IFL) to create two stores in Gibraltar, taking over former BHS sites. BHS traded in Gibraltar for 31 years, since 1985. The partnership with IFL secures the jobs of all employees formerly working in the BHS stores.
IFL director George Russo said: “Securing Debenhams as a retail partner to take over the two BHS sites is a real coup in many ways for us.
“Not only have we been able to secure a considerable number of jobs but we are also delivering an improved retail offer to the Gibraltar public, which is bound to have a positive halo effect on the high street shopping within the region.”
Debenhams’ entry into the Gibraltar market is also a first for the brand and will complement online sales delivering to the region.
The first store consists of a dedicated Homes store on Main Street (the centre of Gibraltar’s commercial district) which opened in September.
The second store is a redeveloped premises in the ICC (International Commerce Centre) shopping centre which is trading as a Christmas ‘pop up’ until mid-January while being modernised. This site will open in February, carrying the full department store offer.
David Smith, international director of Debenhams, said: “International expansion is a strategic priority for Debenhams. We are delighted to be working with Pepkor on entering the Australian market and IFL in Gibraltar. By working with both partners we will introduce our unique mix of designer and own brands to the regions.”
Debenhams is an international, multi-channel brand which trades out of more than 240 stores across 27 countries.
St. Collins Lane shopping precinct of Melbourne is the home to Debenhams’ first store in Australia