Whitcoulls goes; Farmers moves into Auckland CBD
Whitcoulls is moving from its landmark Queen St site in Auckland to make way for Farmers.
The department store is moving back to the city’s premier shopping street to revive its 100-year presence in the area after a brief absence.
Ironically, the building was orignally erected last century as a department store for John Court Ltd.
James Pascoe Group owns Farmers and Whitcoulls and says the move to rebrand the bookshop’s site, on the corner of Queen and Victoria Sts, as a department store, comes after Top Shop and Top Man opened over the road, improving the area as a fashion precinct.
Further down Queen St luxury brands have clustered and the area now has Prada, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Swarovski Crystal, adding to the appeal of the inner-city as a growing fashion quarter.
The bottom half of Queen St has been revived in the past decade by the transformation of Britomart and High St into fashion, café, bar and restaurant zones.
The heritage corner site, famous for its giant Santa, will close mid-year for refitting work and the new Farmers’ doors will open before Christmas.
Farmers was further up Queen St but the store closed last year at the end of a long-term lease.
Whitcoulls will maintain its presence in the city through its store in the Downtown Shopping Centre.
Farmers chief executive Rod McDermott says the three separate levels in the Whitcoulls building give the company the room to offer beauty, fashion, lingerie, accessories and homewares.
“There is no doubt it will continue to be a retail landmark in Auckland.”
The top floors of the Whitcoulls building have been converted into apartments.