03/12/2008 - 22:00

Retailers ring up changes

03/12/2008 - 22:00

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THREE major national retailers have announced the opening of new Western Australian stores in the face of a downturn in the retail market.

Retailers ring up changes

THREE major national retailers have announced the opening of new Western Australian stores in the face of a downturn in the retail market.

Last week, furniture and bedding retailer Super A-Mart opened its second WA store in as many months, a 6,000 square metre store at Cockburn.

The company entered the WA market in September with a 5,000sqm store at Osborne Park.

Chief executive Eddie MacDonald said the WA market was continuing to perform strongly, with the Osborne Park store already outperforming all of the company's other stores.

"Osborne Park is often the number one store in our network," Mr MacDonald told WA Business News.

"It's a good location and people have been hanging out for lower price, take-home-today furniture."

"The strength of the WA market has helped us perform well, despite the recent downturn in the national retail market."

A third store WA will open in Cannington on December 20.

Mr MacDonald said the company was looking to open eight stores in WA, depending on sites becoming available in Perth and regional centres including Bunbury and Mandurah.

Fellow low-cost furniture chain Fantastic Furniture is launching soon in WA.

The launch of its first four stores, in Osborne Park, Joondalup, Rockingham and Greenfields, as well as a warehouse facility at Forrestfield, is imminent, according to a company spokesperson.

The four new stores in WA will grow Fantastic Furniture's national store number to 65.

The company said about 50 new jobs would be created across its retail and warehouse premises in the state.

Also last week, David Jones announced it would be opening a new store in Whitfords Shopping Centre, jointly owned by Westfield and Dexus.

The new store, scheduled to open in early 2012, is one of three new stores being opened by David Jones, with two others in Queensland and New South Wales.

The owners are planning a $200 million redevelopment of the centre, which will include the new David Jones store, a new mini major and about 90 new specialty stores.

The new store will take up 13,500sqm of space over two levels and will be subject to 25-year lease.

Whitfords is the third largest shopping centre in WA, attracting 8 million people a year and generating $445 million in annual turnover.

Turnover has been growing, on average, at 12 per cent a year for past three years.

By contrast, other retailers are warning of store closures or are putting their expansion plans on hold.

ASX-listed Clive Peeters, owner of Rick Hart, is currently conducting a strategic review of the business, with its Osborne Park store first in line for redevelopment when retail conditions improve.

Retailer Harvey Norman has indicated it could close stores as its margins continue to come under pressure and sales for the month of November dropped 3.1 per cent from the same month last year.

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