D.I.C. (department store)

The D.I.C. (originally the Drapery and General Importing Company of New Zealand Ltd) was a New Zealand department store chain, founded in Dunedin by Bendix Hallenstein in 1884.[1][2]

Former D.I.C. building, Princes Street, Dunedin

It was bought out by one of its chief rivals, Arthur Barnett, in the 1980s.[3] The site of the company's former headquarters and flagship store is now occupied by the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, although the façade of the Princes Street entrance still remains in largely original condition.


Hallenstein opened the first Drapery and General Importing Company store in 1884 in Dunedin Central.[4]

A second store opened in Christchurch in 1885.[4]

The chain had three stores in 1891, six stores by 1929, nine stores by 1976, and 16 stores by its takeover in 1888.[4]


'Pixie Town' animatronic models from the Christmas display now at Toitū Otago Settlers Museum.

Prior to its takeover by Arthur Barnett, the D.I.C had stores in the following locations. Unless stated, they were rebranded as Arthur Barnett, with D.I.C. eventually closing in 1991:

  • Dunedin, corner of The Octagon and Princes Street (original store - closed in 1991)
  • Invercargill (rebranded Arthur Barnett in 1989) Closed in 1990 with Farmers relocating to site in 1991. Location most recently occupied by Art Fun Wear and was demolished in 2020 as part of a redevelopment of the entire city block.[5]
  • Christchurch, Cashel Street (opened in 1885, burned down in 1908 and rebuilt, merged with Beath's department store in 1978 and shifted into their premises, rebranding as Arthur Barnett/D.I.C, then again as Arthur Barnett, and closed in 2005)[6]
  • Wellington, Lambton Quay. Built 1928 on the site of the former D.I.C store, closed early 1980s. Building refurbished as the Harbour City Centre which opened March 1985. the Harbour City Centre is a registered Category 2 heritage landmark. The six-storey steel and concrete frame building consists of 2 stories of retail and 4 stories of offices.
  • Palmerston North (former Milne & Choyce store and now the Palmerston North City Library) (closed 1992)[7]
  • Wanganui
  • Hamilton - converted to the Central Library in Garden Place, which opened on 20 March 1993[8]
  • Napier
  • Hastings (D.I.C Westermans)
  • Lower Hutt, High St.
  • Rotorua
  • Pakuranga
  • Takapuna
  • Central Auckland (formerly George Court & Sons)


  1. ^ "TheDrapery and General Importing Company of New Zealand Ltd". Otago Witness. 30 October 1890. Retrieved 2 March 2010.
  2. ^ Brookes, Barbara Lesley; Cooper, Annabel; Law, Robin (2003). Sites of gender: women, men and modernity in Southern Dunedin, 1890-1939. Auckland University Press. p. 126. ISBN 978-1-86940-305-8.
  3. ^ "Christchurch retailer Arthur Barnett to close". New Zealand Herald. 1 February 2006. Retrieved 2 March 2010.
  4. ^ a b c "The DIC". nzfashionmuseum.org.nz. New Zealand Fashion Museum.
  5. ^ "Invercargill department store doomed for demolishment gets last hoorah". 26 July 2019.
  6. ^ "Cashfields". Register of Historic Places. Heritage New Zealand. Retrieved 30 July 2011.
  7. ^ Laurenson, Helen (10 March 2010). "Department stores and shopping malls - Decline and survival". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  8. ^ Downs, Jeff (2009). "Hamilton City Libraries 1980-2009 A Brief History" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 October 2016.