Big news in Wellington over the past month, there’s an offer on the table for David Jones to take over our beloved old gal, Kirkcaldies. Any day now I’m sure we’ll hear that they’ve signed, sealed and delivered the deal. I’ve had quite a few people asking me my thoughts on the topic so have decided to lay it all on the table in this post.
In my time in the beauty world, I’ve worked on the cosmetics floor for both David Jones Sydney City and Kirkcaldies so I do feel a little bit entitled to an opinion here…
So. I do think the two brands are in sync - both stores are steeped in history, traditional, and are very well versed in class. If you’ve ever visited the David Jones Sydney City store during the Spring Flower Festival it is crazy amazing: 
David Jones Flower FestivalI am confident that the store Wellingtonians know as Kirkcaldies - Wellington’s premiere department store - is in good hands should David Jones take over.
 Those of you who have been shopping at Kirks since the beginning of time shouldn’t be afraid that the store will lose it’s sense of history, and those of you who currently feel like you’re stepping back in time in a bad, non-Michael J Fox way, when you go into Kirkcaldies (or not as you probably don’t shop there) will be pleasantly suprised. The fashion floors will get a massively overdue facelift, and there are apparently escalators going in. I’m excited. Bring on the crazy amazing shoe department ladies!
But. The staff. Think of the staff.
From what I understand, Kirks will make all staff redundant in January 2016, and they’ll need to reapply for their jobs with David Jones. There may also be six months when the store is closed for renovations, and props to those who can survive without an income for that time. David Jones will need to be really careful not to lose the amazing staff who keep those loyal Kirkcaldies customers coming back again and again.
Other thoughts:
Mecca Cosmetica may use this as a push to go out and get their own store. At present they are a tenant within Kirkcaldies so I’m sure it will depend on rental rates and the balance sheet for the business but there could at least be a 6 month pop up Mecca store in Wellington’s future.
David Jones will bring a Benefit Cosmetics counter to Wellington. No doubt. Benefit have been in Smith & Caughy’s in Auckland for some time and are going into Ballyntynes in Christchurch come July, so I’m sure they will be up front and centre when David Jones is allocating floor space to cosmetic companies in their new Wellington store. Be prepared for an energised, bright pink, brow crazed brand to step in and give MAC a run for their money.
Some smaller NZ brands which are currently stocked at Kirkcaldies might be let go with a David Jones takeover. It’s going to be all about which brands bring in the cash.
Keep an eye out for the massive sale that is no doubt in Kirkcaldies future as they prepare for the settlement date. Also be prepared for Kirks to be out of stock of some/a lot of your favourites as they decrease their stock holding in the lead up.
Farmers are going to be feeling this. And not in a good way. I have a rant about Farmers which goes something like this:
“Farmers are trying pretty damn hard to become the Myer of New Zealand. But they will never be seen as a player in the Department Store game without a serious rebrand. Or everyone of my generation or older dying. Myer is a fun, exciting, youthful brand. Farmers, not so much”. So DJ’s dipping a toe into New Zealand will be making the big wigs at Farmers sweat a little.
So. As long as DJs are respectful of the history Kirks have laid down, and are respectful of the staff then I am so in favour of this it is not even funny. With the massive loss $6 million loss that Kirkcaldies made last year something needed to give. And David Jones swooping in is the best possible outcome that I can see happening here - the other being that Kirks closes down and that beautiful building sits vacant for probably forever.
Your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.