Are Shoes The Step Towards A Retail Revival?

David Jones is putting it's best foot forward by launching Australia's biggest footwear department.

What you need to know
  • Tough times for retailers over the past 6-12 months
  • David Jones to launch Australia’s biggest footwear department
  • New offerings the key to luring shoppers in store

It's that time of year again, when big red sale signs start popping up in shopping centres all over the country.

The mid-season sales are a desperate bid to lure shoppers in store, following a retail slump over the past six to twelve months.

But David Jones is trying something new -- it’s launched plans to build a Australia’s largest footwear department, to secure its bricks-and-mortar future.

“We’re launching our shoe world which includes the introduction of brands such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Gucci,” David Jones spokesperson Courtney Owings said.

“It’s a department store first for Australia… so we cannot wait to bring this to the Australian consumer.”

The $200 million redevelopment of their flagship Sydney Store on Elizabeth Street has been modelled off of the world’s best department stores; including the shoe department at Saks Fifth Avenue which has its own post code.

“Online shopping is important but the physical experience of what you’ll get here will set us apart for years to come,” David Jones chief executive, David Thomas, said.

Image: David Jones

The Australian Retailers Association said the move is all about making sure retailers have got a ‘different offer’.

“Footwear is always a product that women particularly love… and it’s a product that’s got quite a high price to it,” Russell Zimmerman said.

“It’s all about focusing, targeting, making sure you’ve got a different offer and that’s exactly what David Jones will be doing.”

The new mega-department store will not only house the largest collection shoes in the country, but also specially-trained fitters.

“Service is fundamental to our strategy; we have introduced 3000 more full time roles to the business,” he said.

“You won’t get generic people there, you will get footwear specialists who have been specifically employed to sell footwear.”

The Level Seven Luxury Shoe floor will open in September.