Austins History

Our Story

Austins History; From the Twenties to Today


Robert Austin with his son Charles took over a small Drapers Shop with three assistants, and a corrugated tin roof over 6 Courtenay Street.

1920s - 1960s

The venture grew rapidly over the years, thriving on its reputation for value and variety, offering friendly and efficient service to customers. Prompt payment to suppliers and integrity in all its dealings gave the business sound foundations for growth.

The 1955 milestone extension of the ground floor to East Street established Austins as a Department Store, with the first floor added in 1968.

1970s - 1980s

As the sales area doubled in size, the business further expanded. This included the addition of our Coffee Shop, and of key cosmetic brands which formed the basis of today's fine Beauty and Fragrance Hall.


The selling area was more than doubled again.

The building opposite the main Department Store, formerly the Globe Hotel, became our Homestore. The Toys and Mens Stores were also purchased, followed by the Furniture Store - all very near the Clock Tower.


The landmark corner building, formerly a bank, was incorporated into the Fashion Store, completing a continuous building from Courtenay Street to East Street. We also extensively refurbished and modernised all departments and buildings one by one.

Today, having invested in all aspects of the business, including sustainability, we have become a very complete Department Store.

We aim to enhance your shopping experience, offering a welcoming and personal service to ensure we are a compelling destination for all our customers.

Stiling the Chemist

Stiling the Chemist

Stiling the Chemist in what is now the Dash department of Austins.

The General Election

The General Election

The General Election of 1931 with the front of Austins Department Store boarded up.

Charles Austin was sent by his father, Mr Robert Austin, to find a suitable site to expand his own drapery business. He found a small drapery store at 6-8 Courtenay Street in Newton Abbot – little did he know what the future held for him and his family business and the Austins history.

The Globe Hotel

The Globe Hotel

Bank Street, Newton Abbot. General Election. The Globe Hotel is now Austins Soft Furnishings, Linens and Cook shop.