Jersey’s landmark department store De Gruchy will start the first phase of its £15m development of the building on St Helier high street in May, with new offices and a customer reception on the second floor of the store to be complete by July.
The plans will see De Gruchy’s 90,000 sq ft department store completely refurbished, with the second phase, including the installation of two new escalators and refurbishment of the first floor, to be complete by February 2016. In the third phase, the front fascia of the store will be revamped and the ground floor redeveloped by July next year.
All work is expected to be complete by Christmas 2016 and the store will remain open throughout.
De Gruchy will also create an additional 20,000 sq ft of retail space in an adjacent development site, over three floors, which will be combined with 17,000 sq ft of existing store space to create a new retail unit of 37,000 sq ft. The new store will be occupied by Next, which is expected to open in 2017.
“This is major news for De Gruchy and should really breathe new life into the store,” said managing director Neville Moore. “The standalone 37,000 sq ft unit occupied by Next will be great for this part of town too.”
Store director John Marquis said: “An important part of the new experience will be increased level of services and theatre. We want to give De Gruchy a real point of difference and customers a compelling reason to visit the store.”
The company is currently in discussions with both new and existing brand partners about a new departmental layout and plans to introduce services such as beauty and catering to create a state-of-the-art retail space.
Product and online director Jenny Clarke said: “Our ambition is not only to provide customers with a bright and contemporary place to shop, but also an inspirational brand edit that will appeal to new customers and excite our existing customer base.”
De Gruchy, which dates back to 1810, has also unveiled a new brand ethos called ‘Forever Inspired’, which aims to encapsulate the heritage and authenticity of the company and its future proposition.
“Our trade has been quite good recently and the year has held up well,” said Moore. “Christmas was good – it came a little late, but it was very good in the last two weeks. We feel like the tide has turned for Jersey and opportunities exist going forward.”
De Gruchy is owned by Ulster Stores, alongside Moores of Coleraine, The White House in Portrush and Clare’s of Llandudno in Wales.