COMPANY CUTS: Rivers and City Chic are among the shops with an uncertain future in Bundaberg.
COMPANY CUTS: Rivers and City Chic are among the shops with an uncertain future in Bundaberg. Mike Knott BUN221117RIVERS1

Six Bundy stores could be lost in shop cuts

THE umbrella company behind several fashion outlets across Bundaberg has remained tight-lipped on whether those shops will be caught up in a plan to close down 300 of its stores nationally.

Speciality Fashion Group oversees six shops across Bundaberg including two City Chic stores, two Millers stores, a Katies and a Rivers on Bourbong St.

In an address to shareholders at the company's annual general meeting on Tuesday, chairwoman Anne McDonald said the group would shed 300 loss-making stores.

The move comes amid declining sales and increased competition.

"We are targeting an optimised store network of around 700 stores in 2020 compared to the current 1000-plus stores," she said.

Today, Bundaberg store managers said they could not comment on the current situation.

A spokesman on behalf of the company told the NewsMail the initial focus of the cuts would be on stores that were experiencing losses.

He said the closures would happen over three years and it was too early to speculate on which shops may be affected.

Specialty Fashion Group currently has a portfolio of 1019 stores across its brands.

Ms McDonald said the group had been streamlining its business.

"We continue to pursue cost management initiatives and business simplification by integrating shared service functions into the brands," she said.

"In the first quarter of the 2018 financial year, we have reduced costs by around $3.6 million through a leaner support office."

The development comes after the company posted a full-year 2017 loss nearly quadruple the prior year to $8.39m, after a decision to exit its City Chic stores in the US triggered impairments.

Last week, CEO Gary Perlstein announced he would be stepping down after 14 years in the role.

On Tuesday he told shareholders that online sales now accounted for 10.4 per cent of total revenue, and online sales were continuing to increase across all brands.



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