David Jones is to change the name of former Perth family retail company, Aherns, in May 2002. David Jones took over the major department store chain in February 2000, signalling a return to the Western Australian retail market after an absence of more than 25 years, and the end of the Ahern family's 78 year association with the business.

The name change in 2002 will also mark the 80th anniversary of when the family pioneer, Thomas Ahern, opened his first store in May 1922.

David Jones WA general manager, John Samartzis, will use the 2002 date to officially open a new multi-million dollar refurbishment and expansion of the Aherns main store in Perth's Hay St Mall.

Redevelopment of the site next to the existing store was begun in June 2000 and facilities to connect the two stores will start in April 2001, Samartzis said. He added the new store would use feedback from surveys of Aherns customers on their needs and desires, and would not force Eastern Australian tastes on Western Australians.