Cotton On Group

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Cotton On Group
Founded1991; 30 years ago (1991)
HeadquartersGeelong, Australia
Area served
Key people
Nigel Austin (Managing Director and Founder)
Peter Johnson (CEO)
Michael Hardwick (CFO)
Natalie McLean (CRO)
ProductsClothing, decorative arts, sportswear
    • Cotton On
    • Cotton On Kids
    • Cotton On Body
    • Factorie
    • Typo
    • Rubi
    • Supré
    • Cotton On Foundation

Cotton On Group is Australia's largest global retailer, known for its fashion clothing and stationery brands. It has over 1,500 stores in 18 countries and employs 22,000 workers globally. It currently operates eight brands: Cotton On, Cotton On Kids, Cotton On Body, Factorie, Typo, Rubi, Supré, and Cotton On Foundation.

Although strongly focused on clothing, the company also commercialises Homeware and stationery products through the Typo brand. Cotton On is also main sponsor of the AFL Women's, the Australian rules football league for female players.[1][2]


Cotton On was founded in 1991, with the first store being opened in Geelong, Australia.[3] As of 2020, the Cotton On Group consists of 8 brands with over 1,500 stores in 18 countries.[4]

The company was established by Nigel Austin in Geelong, Australia. Since then the company has launched a number of new brands; Cotton On Kids launched in 2004, followed by Cotton On Body and Factorie in 2007. It expanded to Typo (stationery and gifts), and also Rubi in 2008.[3] In 2013, Cotton On acquired Australian female youth brand Supré.[5]

Cotton On opened its first store outside of Australia, in Queensgate Shopping Centre, New Zealand in 2006,[3] and now operates in 19 countries.[6]

The design team in the company's Australian office, control the steps of production from merchandise planning to establishing specifications, and production is outsourced to approximately 850 suppliers and factories globally. Cotton On Group source their materials and products from a number of locations wordwide with the majority of their suppliers being located in China, Bangladesh, India and Australia. They also work with suppliers in Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, the United States and other parts of Asia. [7][8] These facilities are used for horizontal division of labor rather than being integrated.

In October 2016, Cotton On Group signed a 3-year contract with the AFL Women's League to be the exclusive uniform supplier for all its teams.[1][2][9]

The Brands[edit]

Cotton On[edit]

The main brand of the group, raised in 1988 when the first denim jacket sale was made by Nigel Austin. The first "Cotton On" store opened three years later.[3]

Cotton On Kids[edit]

Launched in 2004, Cotton On Kids categories include girls and boys apparel, baby apparel, activewear, dress ups, accessories, sleep, swim, gifting and stationery. In March 2013 they launched a range, Free by Cotton On, which offers apparel for 9–14-year-olds.[10]

Cotton On Body[edit]

Cotton On Body launched with intimates and sleepwear in 2007. They then expanded into swimwear and activewear.[11]


Factorie is a youth fashion brand. Factorie joined the Cotton On Group in 2007 and has grown internationally to over 160+ stores across Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.[12]


Rubi is a footwear and accessories brand. Launched in 2008.[13]


Typo is a stationery brand. Apart from Australia and Asia, it also has stores in The United Kingdom as well select lines being sold on Asos.[14]


Established in 1984, in the female youth market. Part of the Cotton On Group since 2013, Supré has more than 1,000 workers across 100+ retail stores in Australia and New Zealand.[15]

Former brands[edit]

Cotton On LOST was launched in late 2018. The range includes travel luggage and accessories.[16]

Worldwide store distribution[edit]

The group had the following number of stores as of July 2019:[17][18]


  • Brazil (8)
  • United States (154)


  • UK (30)


  • Malaysia (81)
  • Singapore (77)
  • Hong Kong (5)
  • Philippines (36)
  • Thailand (15)
  • Indonesia (32)

Middle East and Africa:

  • UAE (34)
  • Saudi Arabia (3)
  • Oman (1)
  • Jordan (2)
  • South Africa (169)
  • Namibia (6)
  • Botswana (1)


  • Australia (688)
  • New Zealand (126)


In December 2012 Cotton On was fined $1 million for selling highly flammable children's sleepwear misleadingly labeled as low fire danger.[19] The discount clothing retailer, which has more than 900 outlets across the country, was fined $400,000 for selling more than 1000 nightdresses that breached Australian fire safety standards, and a further $400,000 for selling more than 1000 unsafe pairs of girls' pajamas, between September and December 2010.[20] It was fined a further $200,000 for false and misleading labels on both sets of clothing items which claimed they were low fire danger.[21]

In October 2019, Cotton On reported that it had stopped buying cotton from Xinjiang over concerns of abuse of human rights happening there.[22] Before that, in July 2019, Four Corners revealed that Cotton On and several other brands whose garment was sold in Australia, sourced cotton from Xinjiang, and that there were clues indicating that such cotton is related to forced labour camps.[23] Cotton On then had to investigate internally. It eventually made the above mentioned decision.[24]

Cotton On decided to fire all Assistant Store Managers in California due to COVID-19.[dubious ]


  1. ^ a b Cotton On in major AFL women’s deal by Tom Lloyd on Sports Media, 10 Nov 2016
  2. ^ a b AFLW puts some muscle into Cotton On's fight with international brands by Katie Low, 7 Mar 2017
  3. ^ a b c d "OUR HISTORY - Cotton on Group".
  4. ^ "OUR WORKPLACES - Cotton on Group".
  5. ^ Oliver, Melinda. "Cotton On snaps up fast-fashion brand Supré amid influx of overseas retailers". Smart Company. Retrieved 14 November 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Cotton On Group fashions a new approach to customer loyalty". Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  7. ^ {{cite web |
  8. ^ Cotton On Group SUPPLIER LIST FEB 2019 |
  9. ^ Routledge Handbook of the Business of Women's Sport edited by Nancy Lough and Andrea N. Geurin on Google Books
  10. ^ "COTTON ON KIDS - Cotton on Group".
  11. ^ "COTTON ON BODY - Cotton on Group".
  12. ^ "FACTORIE - Cotton on Group".
  13. ^ "RUBI - Cotton on Group".
  14. ^ "TYPO - Cotton on Group".
  15. ^ "SUPRE - Cotton on Group".
  16. ^ "Made in transit: the Group launches into travel category - Cotton on Group". 29 January 2019.
  17. ^ "OUR STORE FOOTPRINT - Cotton on Group".
  18. ^ "Store Finder | Find Cotton On Store Near Me".
  19. ^ "Cotton On fined for selling flammable kids pyjamas". 18 December 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  20. ^ (18 December 2012). "Clothing Retailer Cotton On Slapped with $1M Fine for Fire Hazard Children's Nightwear". International Business Times AU. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  21. ^ "Cotton On fined for selling flammable kids pajamas". ABC News. ABC. 19 December 2012. Retrieved 27 April 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Cotton On and Target stop buying cotton from Xinjiang over human rights concerns". 16 October 2019. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  24. ^

External links[edit]