CHURCHLANDS gourmet food store The Herdsman has shelved a $3.7 million expansion plan in Claremont because of the current economic crisis. The business, owned by the Cerinich family, was to open a new store in a 910 square metre space in the Claremont Quarter shopping centre, currently being developed, in February 2009. The Herdsman chief executive officer Jim Fraser said the company had decided six weeks ago to hold off on the expansion project in light of the economic downturn and the plunging consumer confidence. “The business had a strategic plan to expand in other locations for the last three years and there are different models that we want to explore,” Mr Fraser said. “We wanted to create something unique…you are talking fit out costs of $3.7 million…we wouldn’t consider to spend less than what we planned on the fit out of the new store. It was never an option to do something that wasn’t unique and exciting,” he said. “We had a better look at the set up and the sales expectations and decided to concentrate on our current store to ride out this period [of economic downturn].” Mr Fraser said that along with the large investment involved in the new store, starting a large business from scratch was also unknown territory for The Herdsman, which had built the popularity of its current store over 30 years. “The risk factor became critical in the credit squeeze climate,” he said. Mr Fraser said the business hasn’t ruled out opening a new store. “It is still in the business plan to transport the brand in a different location, it’s just a question of timing…we are taking a cautious approach,” he said.