David Jones Limited
There's no other store like David Jones
|Traded as||ASX: DJS|
|Founded||1838, Sydney, New South Wales|
|Headquarters||Castlereagh St, Sydney, Australia|
|Number of locations||38|
|Products||Cosmetics, Fashion, Homewares, Furniture, Electrical, Food|
|Revenue||A$1.85 billion (2013)|
|Operating income||A$149 million (2013)|
|Total equity||A$801 million (2013)|
|Employees||Approx. 10000 (2010)|
David Jones Limited, trading as David Jones and colloquially known as DJs, is a high-end Australian department store chain. David Jones was founded in 1838 by David Jones, a Welsh immigrant, and is claimed to be the oldest continuously operating department store in the world still trading under its original name. It currently has 38 stores located in most Australian states and territories. David Jones' main department store rival is Myer.
David Jones, a Welsh merchant, met a Hobart businessman Charles Appleton in London. Appleton had established a store in Sydney in 1825 and Jones subsequently established a partnership with Appleton, moved to Australia in 1835, and the Sydney store became known as Appleton & Jones. When the partnership was dissolved in 1838, Jones moved his business to premises on the corner of George Street and Barrack Lane, Sydney. Jones survived the depression of the 1840s, and by 1856 had retired from active management of the business. A few years later when the firm failed, he returned to manage its affairs and in a few years had fully discharged all obligations to his creditors. By 1887, the George Street store had been rebuilt and a mail order facility introduced. A factory was opened in Marlborough Street, Sydney to reduce reliance on imported goods. On the death of the founder, his son, Edward Lloyd Jones (1844–1894), led the company. At eighteen years of age, Edward Lloyd Jones Jnr (1874–1934) journeyed to England and entered the London office of David Jones. On his return to Australia he gained pastoral and cattle experience in the Burnett district of Queensland. He re-entered the family business upon the death of his father in the train disaster at Redfern, New South Wales in 1894. David Jones was then a private company but in 1906, it become a public company. Edward Lloyd Jones Jnr became chairman of directors and held that position until he resigned In 1921. The Elizabeth Street store was opened in 1927 under the guidance of chairman Charles Lloyd Jones. A further store was opened in Market Street, Sydney in 1938. In 1954, a State banquet was held for visiting Queen Elizabeth II in the restaurant of the Elizabeth Street store.
1940s - 1980s
A significant feature of the Elizabeth St. shop, contributing greatly to its aura of quality and exclusivity, was the David Jones Art Gallery founded in 1944. Directors included Will Ashton (1944–47), Marion Hall Best (1947–49), John Amory (1949–50), M P Ferrandiere (1950–53), George Duncan (1953–63), Robert Haines (1963–76), Brian Moore (1976-84) and Peta Phillips (1984-92). Among the many drawcards was the Dobell exhibition of 1944, the Duke of Bedford's collection in 1962, and the Mendel Collection of Modern Painting also in 1962. Many of the prominent arts societies which held annual exhibitions there included the Australian Art Society, the Society of Artists, Australian Watercolour Institute, Contemporary Art Society and Society of Sculptors and Associates. Prize exhibitions held in the Gallery included those sponsored by W D & H O Wills and Transfield.
Throughout the 1930s and '40s, the Sydney store supported The Dajonians Repertory Society, a Staff Club amateur theatre group. Their plays were variously performed in the David Jones theatrette and such theatres as St. James' Hall and Independent Theatre. They engaged the services of a permanent producer (Carl Francis throughout the '30s and Frederick Hughes from 1940) and produced six plays a year, mostly light comedies by recognised playwrights such as J. B. Priestley. Through this time the company was led by Sir Charles Lloyd Jones until his death in 1958. By 1959, the store network had expanded to eight stores, with expansion focused upon the burgeoning new suburbs of Sydney.
1980s - 2000s
In 1980 the Adelaide Steamship Company, headed by John Spalvins, acquired a substantial interest in David Jones, culminating in a complete takeover that took the company out of the Jones family hands for the first time in its history. Through the 1980s and into the 1990s, the two companies involved themselves in a complex company structure whereby they each owned about half of each other and, financed by huge borrowings, acquired a portfolio of other companies. In 1982, a David Jones store opened in Melbourne for the first time, having acquired and rebranded department store Buckley & Nunn. In 1985, David Jones acquired the Adelaide department store John Martins, (their second department store in Adelaide's prime retail strip, Rundle Mall). Other acquisitions included Petersville Sleigh, Buffum's, Tooth and Co., Penfolds and numerous others. The recession of the early 1990s caused the nervous lenders, (over 200 banks), to demand the return of their assets. This forced the liquidation of the porfolio at "fire-sale" prices, and led the two companies into bankruptcy; the worthless Adelaide Steamship Company was renamed "Residual Assco Ltd" and was delisted. The worthless David Jones Limited was renamed "DJL". A number of the assets with value were very successfully sold off via public floats, in particular, National Foods, Woolworths, and the department store assets of DJL were floated as "David Jones Limited". In 1995, David Jones announced an $800 million public float of the David Jones and John Martin retail operations. The "new" David Jones Limited was subsequently listed on the Australian Stock Exchange with a new ASX code of DJS. The separation and public float of the department store assets in 1995 resulted in structural and cultural changes which saw periods of stagnancy and high staff turnover. Changes in management saw DJs falter in the late 1990s. Shares initially offered at A$2 fell as low as A$0.90.
2000s - present
A major strategic review in 2003 saw the closing of DJs two unprofitable stores: the loss-making David Jones Online web-based business and its gourmet food retail stores, Foodchain. It revitalised many of its stores, including its flagship Elizabeth Street and Market Street stores in Sydney (two individual buildings, linked both underground and via air bridge through Westfield Sydney). Since then its profitability—and profile—has improved, thanks to a combination of a consumer spending boom, and the securing of exclusive deals with many high-profile Australian and international brands. In this period, the share price reached highs of over A$4.50. The global downturn in 2009 affected David Jones, reporting a sales decline of 6.4% to $1,061.2m in the first half of 2009. In June 2010 CEO Mark McInnes resigned after allegations that he had sexually harassed a female employee. McInnes' successor, Paul Zahra, led the company through significant restructuring, including the massive expansion of the online retail presence.
Proposed merger with Myer
In October 2013, Myer approached David Jones with a conditional, non-binding, indicative proposal for a potential merger of the two companies. Myer believed the combined group would have generated pro forma sales and earnings before interest and tax in 2013 of approximately $5.0 billion and $364 million, respectively. In addition, Myer expected that a merger could have achieved more than $85 million of ongoing annual cost synergies within three years, primarily driven by structural efficiencies. The board of David Jones rejected the offer in November 2013. In February 2014, Myer again approached David Jones offering to buy the company at market value, with David Jones having a market capitalisation of $1.7 billion. Myer also indicated that its re-appointed chief executive Bernie Brookes would be capable of managing the combined entity should the merger occur. David Jones acknowledged the letter stating it would consider any proposal that is in the best interest of its shareholders but made no further comment. In April 2014, Myer withdrew its proposed merger of equals following on from David Jones announcement that it had recommended a $4.00 cash per share proposal and entered into a Scheme Implementation Deed with South African based retail group Woolworths, implying a market capitalisation of $2.15 billion.
David Jones' branding—a black-on-white houndstooth pattern—is one of the most recognised corporate identities in Australia. A government sponsored panel judged it in 2006 as one of Australia's top ten favourite trade marks. The iconic design was the result of a 1967 rebranding exercise by Charles Lloyd Jones Jr, who desired that the store would be so well known by the design as to not require the use of the name on the packing. It was inspired allegedly from the houndstooth design on a Miss Dior perfume bottle of his mother's, Hannah Jones.
Model Megan Gale has been a prominent public face for David Jones since 2001, appearing in its annual fashion parades until retiring in 2008. Model Miranda Kerr was subsequently named to take over from Gale as David Jones' "face" for catwalk and catalogue appearances. Kerr served as the brand's ambassador from 2008 until 2013. On March 23, 2013, model Jessica Gomes was announced as Kerr's replacement. Celebrities used by David Jones in recent times include Liz Hurley and Kim Cattrall.
Six stores have food halls which are viewed as a key part of the David Jones brand, emphasising quality and style, yet have come under recent criticism. The failed Foodchain experiment—effectively a smaller chain of standalone food halls—was sold to the parent company of Freedom Furniture in 2003 after it proved unprofitable.
David Jones has department stores in all Australian capital cities except Hobart and Darwin, and also has stores in Kotara (Newcastle), Tuggerah (opened 1995), Wollongong and Robina (Gold Coast). Within NSW, David Jones established its first store in Newcastle by acquiring Scott's department store on Hunter Street in 1958, which closed in 2011. David Jones also acquired the Big W Department Stores at Kotara Fair (now Westfield Kotara) and Warrawong, New South Wales in 1971 It expanded interstate by acquiring Buckley & Nunn (Melbourne) in 1982, John Martin's (Adelaide) in 1985 and Aherns (Perth) in 1999. David Jones also owned the former Georges store in Collins Street, Melbourne between 1981 and 1995.
All stores are located in major retail precincts and shopping malls. In 2007, David Jones recast its criteria for store locations, reflecting CEO Mark McInnes' intention to concentrate on "low risk, high value locations".
Stores in Sydney at Centro Bankstown (closed July 2007) and Westfield Eastgardens (October 2007) were replaced by Myer. However, David Jones replaced the Myer store in Westfield Burwood in May 2007 and opened a new store at Westfield Chermside in August 2007 and a new store at QueensPlaza, Brisbane in February 2008.
In January 2008, David Jones announced that the Claremont store (Western Australia) would be closed in 2009 to allow for a complete rebuilding to reopen in 2011 that will increase its size by 60%.
David Jones has formally announced other new stores:
- Sunshine Plaza, Maroochydore, 2012
- Macquarie Centre, Sydney, mid-2013
- Malvern Central Shopping Centre, Melbourne, September 2013 
- Indooroopilly Shopping Centre, Brisbane, April 2014
Credit and store cards
David Jones derives about 30 per cent of its annual earnings from its store cards. In February 2008, it announced it would be launching a David Jones American Express card before Christmas 2008 and would transfer its $400 million store card receivables (representing 400,000 cardholders) to American Express. It is also considering additional financial services such as insurance and home loans under its brand.
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- Template:Herald Sun
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