Pepkor, owner of the Harris Scarfe department store chain, has partnered with British department store, Debenhams, to open the first small format Debenhams store in Australia in 2016.
The location and exact opening date of the store are yet to be disclosed, but the opening will be the first of the major British department store chain to open locally, with Marks & Spencer rumoured to be next to follow Debenhams Australian entry.
Harris Scarfe will manage the three pronged agreement which will see Debenhams product, including its ‘Designers at Debenhams’ range, wholesaled and retailed within selected Harris Scarfe stores; standalone Debenhams franchise stores open in flagship retail centres; and a Debenhams led e-commerce channel.
Jason Murray, MD of Pepkor South East Asia, said the wholesale arrangement will augment Pepkor’s efforts to revitalise and grow the Harris Scarfe business.
“The franchise stores will complement our Harris Scarfe stores and add to our back office scale. These stores will be contemporary, smaller scale flagships which will be genuine modern department stores,” said Mr Murray.
Debenhams has more than 240 stores across 27 countries. In the UK, Debenhams has a top three market position in womenswear and menswear and a top 10 share in childrenswear. It holds the number two market position in premium health and beauty.
Graham Dean, CEO of Harris Scarfe, said the initiative takes the development of Harris Scarfe forward a further significant step.
“For our loyal customers, the partnership brings access to an exciting range of credible, international department store brands. For our team, the opportunity to be part of one of the most exciting department store stories in the region, and our supply and property partners will appreciate the addition of such a clearly differentiated and exclusive range that will make us an even stronger destination for all lovers of shopping,” said Mr Dean.