Alex Perry closes glitzy bricks and mortar flagship store


His flagship store in Sydney’s glitzy Strand Arcade will shut its doors in March as the business operation gives up on bricks and mortar and shifts its focus to online.

Mr Perry told The Daily Telegraph digital sales were nearly four times greater on the web than his only physical store.

“Why would I renew that lease for another three, four, five years when it is far more economical and we make a lot more money online that what we do with all the expenses you incur when you have bricks and mortar,” he said.

“Business-wise if it is making more sales online and the costs are significantly less, then you can do other stuff with that money.”

The Strand Arcade features high-end fashion and footwear retailers.Source:News Corp Australia

Weak consumer confidence and increased competition from online have been blamed on the dozens of recent retailers going out of business.

But on a more local scale, Mr Perry also attributed the disruption from the construction of the light rail network in Sydney’s CBD.

“It changed the flow of people in that part of the city,” he said, according to The Tele. “At the same time, as my business grew the way it is growing now, people are buying differently. Our online store started to increase in sales exponentially.”

RETAIL WOES

Mr Perry’s decision comes hot on the heels of a slew of other high-profile Australian businesses that have folded in the first fortnight of 2020.

It started early on January 7 when it was revealed department store Harris Scarfe was set to shut 21 stores across five states over the course of just one month after the retailer was placed in receivership in December.

Just days later, McWilliam’s Wines – the country’s sixth-largest wine company that has been run by the same family for more than 140 years – announced it had also appointed voluntary administrators.

Then it was popular video game chain EB Games’ turn, with the business confirming it was closing at least 19 stores across the country within weeks, while fashion chain Bardot is also planning to shutter 58 stores across the nation by March.

EB Games will close at least 19 Aussie stores. Picture: AAP Image/Matt Loxton

EB Games will close at least 19 Aussie stores. Picture: AAP Image/Matt LoxtonSource:News Corp Australia

In January it also emerged Curious Planet – the educational retailer previously known as Australian Geographic, which is owned by parent company Co-op Bookshop – would pull 63 stores across Australia after failing to find a buyer for the brand, while denim chain Jeanswest entered voluntary administration that month and tech giant Bose also revealed it would close all Australian stores and 119 across the globe largely as a result of the rise of online shopping.

The total confirmed number of bricks-and-mortar stores earmarked for closure has already risen to 161 this year alone.

This year German supermarket Kaufland also pulled out of Australia before it had even begun, investing millions into the expansion before making a hasty exit this year to focus on its European offerings.

And handbags and accessories chain Colette by Colette Hayman was also placed into voluntary administration in late January, leaving 300 jobs and 140 stores in the lurch.

2020s dismal first fortnight for retail follows a horror 2019 that brought the collapse of a slew of Aussie businesses, with some international players also folding in recent months.

Last January, menswear retailer Ed Harry went into voluntary administration, and a week later, Aussie sportswear favourite Skins also revealed it was on the brink of failure after applying for bankruptcy in a Swiss court.

At the end of the month, the Napoleon Perdis beauty empire appointed administrators although it was saved from liquidation by KUBA Investments three months later.

Footwear trailblazer Shoes of Prey also met its demise in March last year along with British fashion giant Karen Millen, which in September revealed it would soon shut all Aussie stores, leaving around 80 jobs in peril.

While 21 Harris Scarfe department stores will shutter. Picture: Brendan Radke

While 21 Harris Scarfe department stores will shutter. Picture: Brendan RadkeSource:News Corp Australia

In October, celebrity chef Shannon Bennett’s Melbourne burger chain Benny Burger was also placed into administration, followed by seven Red Rooster outlets in Queensland just days later and then Aussie activewear sensation Stylerunner, which has since been sold to Accent Group Limited.

In November, it was revealed that popular furniture and homewares company Zanui was in trouble after it abruptly entered voluntary administration, leaving angry customers in the lurch.

Later that month, Muscle Coach, a leading fitness company, was put into voluntary administration after a director received a devastating diagnosis and the company racked up debts of almost $1 million.

Then it was the famous Criniti’s restaurant chain’s turn to enter into voluntary administration, with several of the 13 sites across the country set to close for good. It was closely followed by discount legend Dimmeys.



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