By PHILIP CHANDLER
In a Queenstown CBD increasingly riddled with empty premises, that won’t be a problem when the redeveloped O’Connells building opens next year.
In a major coup, landlord Skyline Enterprises has leased two retail floors to one tenant.
That is global travel retailer DFS Group, which’ll roll out a new concept store displaying a wide range of leading New Zealand and international brands across fashion, beauty, watches, wines and the like.
The ‘Resort Galleria’ will be part of the group’s long-established chain, T Galleria by DFS.
‘‘They represent a stable of 200 to 300 brands, I believe,’’ Skyline CEO Geoff McDonald says.
‘‘Whilst they might pick a Gucci or a Prada for central Rome or London or whatever, they’ll be able to put a mix of different brands here that work for Queenstown.
‘‘It’s going to be pitched at both the domestic, local market, for those better-end brands, and international travellers.’’
After the redevelopment job’s finished this September or October, McDonald expects the store to open June/July next year — at the same time as a basement food hall leased to eight to nine operators.
He says they’ve been talking to DFS Group for well over a year.
‘‘The uncertainty around Covid-19 has meant conversations have been pretty protracted, and we’ve literally only just signed an agreement.’’
That same uncertainty had stopped other retailers from committing in the interim.
DFS will take out not only 1800 square metres over two floors connected by an escalator, but also some of the top-floor office space.
McDonald believes the mega-store, which he guesses will employ 40 to 50 people, will enhance Queenstown’s CBD and continue to differentiate it from the more local retail in Frankton’s shopping centres.
‘‘[DFS Group] just saw the potential in Queenstown, and difficult as it is now, they know it’s going to come back, and it’s going to be a fantastic site for them.’’
DFS group chairman and CEO Benjamin Vuchot says: ‘‘We are very excited to introduce, for the first time in Queenstown, a carefully-curated selection of the best luxury retail and finest local products, further enhancing the reputation and appeal of this beautiful resort among discerning global travellers.’’