David Jones Limited

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David Jones Limited
Industry Retail
Founded 1838
Founder David Jones
Headquarters Castlereagh Street, Sydney, Australia
Number of locations
Area served
Australia, New Zealand
Key people
Products Cosmetics, Fashion, Homewares, Furniture, Electrical, Food
Revenue IncreaseA$2.2 billion (2016)[1]
IncreaseA$170 million (2016)[1]
Number of employees
7200 (2014)[2]
Parent Woolworths Holdings Limited
Website www.davidJones.com.au

David Jones Limited, trading as David Jones (colloquially DJs), is an Australian upmarket department store, owned by South African retail group Woolworths Holdings Limited.

David Jones was founded in 1838 by David Jones, a Welsh immigrant, and is the oldest continuously operating department store in the world still trading under its original name.[3][4] It currently has 39 stores located in most Australian states and territories. David Jones' main competitor is the larger, mid-to-up market department store chain Myer. On 28 July 2016 David Jones will open their first New Zealand store in Wellington after buying Kirkcaldie & Stains.[5]

In August 2016, Woolworths Holdings announced that the David Jones headquarters will be moved from Sydney to Richmond, Victoria, owing to a combination of factors including rental lease fees and the market position for retail/fashion, as well as a lure from the Victorian Government.


'David Jones and Coy' store, corner of George Street and Barrack Lane, circa 1900.

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. 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.[6]

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 in 1894. David Jones was then a private company but in 1906, it became a public company.[7] 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. There was a small branch located in the Australia Hotel on Martin Place. In 1954, a State banquet was held for visiting Queen Elizabeth II in the restaurant of the Elizabeth Street store.[3]

1940s - 1980s[edit]

David Jones' flagship building on the corner of Elizabeth Street & Market Street, Sydney

Regional NSW & Interstate Entry[edit]

Within New South Wales, David Jones established its first store in Newcastle by acquiring Scott's on Hunter Street in 1957 (closed 2011), and [8] in Wollongong, the retailer Walter Lance & Co. in 1960. David Jones acquired and then converted the Big W Department Stores at Kotara Fair and the two storey Big W at Warrawong in 1971. The Warrawong store closed in February 1986. There was a store in Wagga Wagga due to the purchase of David Copland & Co in 1953 (closed 1971).

David Jones' expanded into Victoria in 1982 by acquiring the three stores of Buckley & Nunn located in Bourke Street, Northland, and Chadstone (closed the latter in 1983). In 1987 David Jones purchased the former GJ Coles store and building at 299 Bourke Street, Melbourne, converting it into a David Jones store. David Jones also owned the former Georges store in Collins Street, Melbourne between 1981 and 1995. In South Australia there were the acquisitions of Charles Birks & Co (Adelaide) in 1954 and John Martin's (Adelaide) in 1985. In Western Australia acquired Bon Marche (Perth) in 1954 (closed 1979), Foy & Gibson in 1964 (closed 1978), and Aherns (Perth) in 1999. In Queensland, David Jones' purchased Finney Isles (Brisbane) in 1955, McKimmons (Townsville) in 1960 (relocated from Flinders Street and then closed in 1994), T.C. Beirne (Brisbane) in 1961, Marsh & Webster (Mackay) in 1963 (closed 1981), Boland's (Cairns) also in 1963 (relocated to Earlsville in 1984, since closed), Wyper Bros. (Bundaberg) in 1972 (closed 1981), and Stuparts (Maryborough) in 1977 (closed 1981).

United States[edit]

In 1974 David Jones' acquired a group of 12 stores in the United States, called Buffum's. These were ultimately rolled into Adelaide Steamship Company and closed by that company in May 1991.

David Jones Art Gallery[edit]

A significant feature of the Elizabeth Street 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.[9]

Dajonians Repertory Society[edit]

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.[10] 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.[3]

1980s - 2000s[edit]

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. Other acquisitions made by Adelaide Steamship included Petersville Sleigh, Tooth & Co, Penfolds, and numerous others.[11]

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 portfolio 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.[7] 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.[7]

2000s - present[edit]

A major strategic review in 2003 saw the closing of 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). During this period sales growth and profit growth were not continually increasing despite a consumer spending boom and the securing of exclusive deals with Australian and international brands. In this period, the share price was volatile, it reached a high of over $4.50.[12] 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.[13]

In June 2010 CEO Mark McInnes resigned after allegations that he had sexually harassed a female employee.[14] McInnes' successor, Paul Zahra, led the company through significant restructuring, including the expansion of the online retail presence until October 2013 when he announced that his intention to resign.[15] Zahra retained his position however on account of strong shareholder support against Board Chairman Peter Mason who eventually resigned along with two other directors who had been accused of insider trading.[16][17]

Proposed Myer merger[edit]

In October 2013, Myer approached David Jones with a conditional, non-binding, indicative proposal for a potential merger of the two companies.[18] 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.[19] 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.[20] 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.[21]

Takeover by Woolworths South Africa[edit]

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.[22][23] The takeover bid was approved in July 2014 by the Federal Court of Australia.[24] In mid-August 2014, despite the previously stated intention by Woolworths to retain CEO Paul Zahra, Zahra announced his resignation once more amid indications of significant differences between strategy and the future of the company, giving three months notice to ensure a smooth handover.[16] Woolworths then announced that Country Road CEO Iain Nairn would succeed Zahra as chief executive.[25]

Following the takeover, to fund in part the purchase, Woolworths South Africa has offered for sale the iconic 1938 Market Street store. This will result in the closure of the store. The eight floors of home wares, furniture, electricals and menswear will be merged into the existing nine floors Elizabeth Street store. It is not clear if the Food Hall will be retained as part of the merger into the Elizabeth Street store.

Entry into New Zealand[edit]

In July 2015 the Wellington, New Zealand department store Kirkcaldie & Stains agreed to be purchased by Woolworths (South Africa). The existing Wellington store closed in 2016. It reopened on 28 July 2016 as the first David Jones' store in New Zealand. The store fit out has cost ca. $AU20mn, more than originally budgeted. The David Jones' website will not provide delivery to New Zealand, remaining a solely Australian trading website.


Sir Charles Lloyd Jones, scion of the Jones family and Chairman of David Jones Ltd from 1921 until his death in 1958.

Executive Chairmen[edit]

Non-executive Chairmen[edit]

Chief Executive Officers[edit]


Model Miranda Kerr (seated) at a David Jones book signing in Sydney. Kerr was the spokesperson of the company from 2008 until 2013.

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.[29] The iconic design was the result of a 1967 rebranding exercise by Charles Lloyd Jones Jnr, 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.[30] On 25 July 2016 David Jones' introduced a new logo, with a revised font style and removed references to the houndstooth online.

Slogans have been used for sometime at David Jones'. Often the slogans have been used for multiple decades and have become the definition of the David Jones' offer for a generation. Past slogans include "For Service" (1960s), "There's no other store like David Jones" (1980s and 1990s), "The most beautiful store in the world" (1980s), "Was. Is. Always" (2010s), "'Live an extraordinary life" (2014-).

David Jones has for some decades used models and "personalities" as a way of creating cut through in advertising. In the late 20th century it was Maureen Duval, who also hosted "Good Morning Sydney" part sponsored by David Jones on TEN-10 Sydney. In the current century there have been new models used including Megan Gale, Miranda Kerr, and Jessica Gomes.[31][32] Kerr worked for the retailer from 2008 until 2013. On March 23, 2013, model Jessica Gomes was announced as Kerr's replacement.[33] Celebrities used by David Jones in recent times include Liz Hurley[34] and Kim Cattrall.[35]

Five 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.[36] 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.[37] It was announced in July 2016, Neil Perry, a food service and restaurant operator, will consult to David Jones' on the new Food Halls including assortment, presentation and service.


David Jones has department stores in all Australian capital cities except Hobart and Darwin, and also has stores in Kotara (Newcastle), Tuggerah, Wollongong and Robina and Broadbeach Waters (Gold Coast).

Stores are located in city centre retail areas and enclosed shopping centres. In 2007, David Jones recast its criteria for store locations, reflecting CEO Mark McInnes' intention to concentrate on "low risk, high value locations".[38] 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. The Melbourne Bourke Street stores were completely renovated in mid-2010[39] at a cost of $250 million.[40]

In January 2008, David Jones announced that the Claremont store would be closed in 2009 to allow for a complete rebuilding to reopen in 2011. The new store increased floor space by 60%.[41] David Jones' opened a new format, fashion focused format in Malvern, Victoria on 12 September 2013. On the 1st of May 2014, David Jones opened in Indooroopilly, Queensland. In October 2014 David Jones opened in Macquarie Centre, at the same time a number of foreign retailers opened in the centre including H&M, Zara, and Uniqlo.[42]

In March 2016 the new owners of David Jones', Woolworths South Africa, announced they will sell off and close the nine floor Market Street Sydney store, housing the Home, Food, and Menswear departments. The Market Street store was opened in 1938. As part of this transition, in 2015 the Christmas shop was moved from 7th floor Market Street to the Lower Ground of Elizabeth Street.

David Jones currently has 41 stores in Australia:

Upcoming stores[edit]

Credit and store cards[edit]

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.[45] It is also considering additional financial services such as insurance and home loans under its brand.[46]

Financial Services is a highly profitable division for David Jones and in FY2013 contributed earnings of $49.5 million.[47] The introduction of the David Jones American Express Platinum Card as well as an alliance with the Qantas Frequent Flyer programme in 2012 has contributed to the growth of this division. However, in March 2012 the company had announced that the David Jones/American Express alliance converts to a share of actual profits in FY2014 and subsequently the company saw its share of EBIT generated by this business at broadly half of the contribution generated in 2013.[47]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Sales report. "Preliminary Group Results announcement" (PDF). Retrieved 27 August 2015. 
  2. ^ "WHL 2014 Integrated Report" (PDF). Retrieved 8 October 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "Story of David Jones". David Jones. Archived from the original on 15 April 2008. Retrieved 9 May 2008. 
  4. ^ Company History, Answers.com. Retrieved on 4 July 2009.
  5. ^ CATHERINE HARRIS, JAMES WEIR & TALIA SHADWELL (4 June 2015). "Kirkcaldie & Stains department store to become David Jones". Stuff. 
  6. ^ "Jones, David (1793-1873) Biographical Entry". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 22 February 2008. 
  7. ^ a b c "David Jones Limited (1906 -)". Guide to Australian Business Records. Retrieved 9 May 2008. 
  8. ^ http://www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/17507/heritagewalkfurtherinfo.pdf
  9. ^ Encyclopedia of Australian Art Alan McCulloch, Hutchinson of London, 1968
  10. ^ "27 Jan 1940 - MUSIC AND DRAMA. The American Scene—Widespread U...". nla.gov.au. 
  11. ^ "Annual Report to Shareholders, 1990", The Adelaide Steamship Company.
  12. ^ McMahon, Stephen (22 March 2007). "David Jones profit dazzles". Retrieved 17 March 2010. 
  13. ^ "ASX Release 18 March 2009" (PDF). www.davidjones.com.au. 18 March 2009. Retrieved 19 March 2015. 
  14. ^ Durie, John (18 June 2010). "David Jones CEO Mark McInnes resigns after sexual harassment complaint". The Australian. Retrieved 30 November 2010. 
  15. ^ Eli Greenblat; Rachel Wells (21 October 2013). "Paul Zahra quits as David Jones chief". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  16. ^ a b Knight, Elizabeth (12 August 2014). "Time up for Paul Zahra, David Jones' 'accidental CEO'". Fairfax Media. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  17. ^ Speedy, Blair (11 February 2014). "Turmoil at David Jones as Peter Mason leads exodus". New Corp Australia. The Australian. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  18. ^ "Myer confirms David Jones merger approach" (PDF). ASX-Media-Release, Australia. 31 January 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  19. ^ "David Jones Response to Media Commentary". ASX-Media-Release, Australia. 30 January 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  20. ^ "Myer announces re-appointment of CEO". ASX-Media-Release, Australia. 20 February 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  21. ^ "DJS - Response to Myer Letter". ASX-Media-Release, Australia. 20 February 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  22. ^ "Myer response to David Jones announcement". ASX-Media-Release, Australia. 9 April 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  23. ^ "David Jones Board Recommends A$4.00 Cash per Share Proposal". ASX-Media-Release, Australia. 9 April 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  24. ^ Mitchell, Sue (17 July 2014). "David Jones takeover clears final hurdle". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  25. ^ Speedy, Blair (12 August 2014). "Iain Nairn to head David Jones as Paul Zahra quits". News Corp Australia. The Australian. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  26. ^ Bartholomeusz, Stephen (4 June 2003). "Now DJs can get back to basics". The Age. Retrieved 22 October 2014. 
  27. ^ Speedy, Blair (23 November 2012). "David Jones chairman Bob Savage in shock early exit". The Australian. Retrieved 22 October 2014. 
  28. ^ Mitchell, Sue (22 July 2014). "David Jones chairman Gordon Cairns never in doubt over Woolworths takeover". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 October 2014. 
  29. ^ "IP Australia - Trademarks Centenary 2006". Australian Government. 2006. Retrieved 18 August 2008. 
  30. ^ McGinness, Mark (17 July 2010). "Name synonymous with DJs". The Age. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  31. ^ "Catwalk an art form: Megan Gale". National Nine News. 28 February 2008. Retrieved 19 June 2008. 
  32. ^ "Miranda Kerr the new face of David Jones". The West Australian. 24 April 2008. Retrieved 19 June 2008. 
  33. ^ "David Jones says goodbye Miranda Kerr and hello Jessica Gomes". The dailytelegraph. 23 March 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  34. ^ "Hurley's charms". The Age, Melbourne. 1 September 2005. Retrieved 18 June 2008. 
  35. ^ "Cattrall shows her sex smarts". Sydney Morning Herald. 18 December 2005. Retrieved 19 June 2008. [dead link]
  36. ^ "Food hall failing, says expert". Sydney Morning Herald. 28 January 2008. Retrieved 19 June 2008. 
  37. ^ "Freedom picks up Foodchain stores". The Age. Melbourne. 3 June 2003. Retrieved 19 June 2008. 
  38. ^ Retail blues, Business Sunday, ninemsn.com.au
  39. ^ "David Jones Redevelopment - Bourke Street Melbourne". Walton Construction. Retrieved 2013-04-26. 
  40. ^ Eli Greenblat (2010-08-11). "DJs prepares to party after its $250m facelift". Theage.com.au. Retrieved 2013-04-26. 
  41. ^ David Jones announces that its Claremont store will be completely rebuilt, Press Release, 30 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-28.
  42. ^ "David Jones opens first new Sydney store in seven years". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  43. ^ "New-look David Jones to open in Malvern Central shopping centre". Herald Sun. 29 August 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
  44. ^ "David Jones expects 40 million sales from new Queensland store". Herald Sun. Retrieved 19 March 2015. 
  45. ^ "Amex is branded card partner for DJs". Sydney Morning Herald. 19 February 2008. Retrieved 21 February 2008. 
  46. ^ "Retailers take on the banks...again". Australian Financial Review. 30 January 2008: 1, 61. 
  47. ^ a b Annual Report. "David Jones Limited 2013 Annual Report". Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  48. ^ Low, Charles (1971). A Roll of Australian Arms. Adelaide: Rigby Limited. p. 29. ISBN 0-85179-149-2. OCLC 246821. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to David Jones Limited at Wikimedia Commons