16/10/2007 - 22:00

Spotlight on business growth

16/10/2007 - 22:00

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It may have made its name selling haberdashery and bolts of chiffon, but big box-style retailer Spotlight is moving on by diversifying into home decor and party supplies, investing more than $10 million in the Western Australian market.

Spotlight on business growth

It may have made its name selling haberdashery and bolts of chiffon, but big box-style retailer Spotlight is moving on by diversifying into home decor and party supplies, investing more than $10 million in the Western Australian market.

Spotlight is planning to overhaul its eight WA stores (and 108 national outlets) and expand its local footprint by 10,000 square metres with the opening of new mega-stores in Myaree, Innaloo, and regional stores in Albany and maybe Karratha.

In Perth last week to open the company’s refurbished Cannington Store, Spotlight chief executive Stephen Carter told WA Business News it was close to securing a site in Albany for a 2,500sq m regional store and was assessing a move into the booming north-west mining town of Karratha.

Outside of Perth, the retailer has stores in Rockingham, Mandurah, Bunbury and Geraldton. 

“We hope to secure a site in Albany over the next three to four weeks, and depending on where, we could have a store open there in early 2009,” he said.

“We may consider Karratha, but it adds new challenges with logistics and finding appropriate staff.”

Mr Carter said Spotlight was converting all its format stores into a mega-centre format, which divided outlets into rooms to showcase home decor, giftware, bathroom solutions and linen, plus the traditional areas of sewing/fabrics.

The Cannington store will be the first in WA to have a party supplies department, called S’Party, which Spotlight hopes to introduce across all WA stores by Christmas, except Rockingham.

“Our aim is to increase ‘shopability’ and add 18 per cent more stock to our stores and increase the size of our range…the big push into home furnishings with custom made solutions for customers is part of the plan,” Mr Carter said.

From opening a single store in Malvern, Victoria, in 1973, Spotlight has grown to become Australia’s largest chain of fabric, craft and home interiors stores and a significant developer.

Posting $800 million in sales through its Spotlight stores last financial year, Mr Carter said he was intent on making its outdoor and adventure goods subsidiary, Anaconda, the dominant player in the sector by expanding from nine co-located stores to 17 this year, and out to 50 next year.

Mr Carter said WA’s planning and trading hour regimes were difficult to negotiate and quite costly to comply with compared with other states and countries, with what he considered unnecessary limitations placed on products and inconsistent trading periods.

“At Anaconda Joondalup they’re not allowed to sell clothing. At Spotlight Innaloo, we’re not allowed to sell glassware, china or greeting cards…it adds an incredible level of complexity to doing business here,” he said.

“If we do a ‘door buster deal’ marketing campaign on crockery for example, we’ll have to state it’s not available at Innaloo, our newest mega-store. It’s difficult to be as persuasive with marketing if you can’t open on a Sunday either.”

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