Country Road

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This article is about the Australian/New Zealand clothing retailer. For the song by James Taylor, see Country Road (song).
Country Road
Type Public
Traded as ASXCTY
Industry Retail
Founded 1974
Headquarters Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Products Clothing, footwear, accessories, homewares, furniture
Revenue $237.6 million (FY06/07)
Website http://www.countryroad.com.au/

Country Road is a middle market clothing retailer located in Australia and New Zealand with 68 free standing stores and 77 department store concessions. It is traded on the Australian Stock Exchange, with South African company Woolworths Holdings Limited owning 88%. Country Road has a customer loyalty program which enables members to receive special offers and early invitations to sales. It was changed in 2007 to require members to spend a minimum amount annually to receive benefits.

The company produces women's clothing, footwear & accessories; men's clothing, footwear & accessories; children's clothing; and homewares. In 1981, Myer purchased Country Road, but was sold in 1987-88 and listed on the share market. In 1984, Country Road began producing menswear, then in 1986, it began producing accessories. In 1988, it expanded into homewares and the American market. In 1998, Woolworths Holdings Limited acquired a controlling interest in the company. By 2000-01, Country Road had closed its American stores and started producing childrenswear.

History[edit]

The company was founded in 1974 by Stephen Bennett, initially as a shirt label. It grew rapidly to become Australia's first lifestyle brand.[1] Its growth during the '90s extended in both product range and location, operating over 100 stores at its peak.

It was relaunched in July 2004 as a company that has higher volume sales and lower product prices. In the years 2006–07, Country Road has reduced its prices by 25%, resulting in a 70% rise in sales volume. Prior to the re-launch, Country Road was a retailer with a premium price and a strong brand identity. The current head designer for Country Road is Sophie Holt (previously chief designer for women's fashion chain store Witchery). Its head office is located in Richmond, Victoria, the Australian flagship store is located nearby in South Yarra, Melbourne on Chapel Street.

Beginning 2003, Country Road entered into an exclusive agreement with Myer department stores. Under this agreement, Country Road agreed to sell exclusively to Myer and not to its main rival, David Jones. It also included joint marketing and in-store visual merchandising. This arrangement ended in January 2007 when Country Road became a concession store in David Jones and Myer stores. There were also stores in Boston, Chicago, New York City and other cities in the United States, as recent as 2000 or later, which closed due to poor sales.

During 2009, Country Road created the brand Trenery. Which currently has 27 stores across Australia and New Zealand.

In 2012, Country Road purchased Witchery Group, which include Witchery and Mimco for $172 million. The takeover created one of Australia's biggest speciality apparel retailers, with 517 stores and $679 million in annual sales.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Long Road Back". The Age. The Age. 2003. Retrieved 16 June 2011. 

Further reading[edit]

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