Why Specialty Fashion dumped Katies, Millers and Rivers in favour of plus-size specialist City Chic

Image: Wendell Teodoro/WireImage
  • Specialty Fashion Group is putting all its resources into plus size stores City Chic.
  • The company today confirmed the sale of Millers, Katies, Crossroads, Autograph and Rivers.
  • Online at City Chic now represents more than a third of sales.

Specialty Fashion Group confirmed the completion of the sale of the Millers, Katies, Crossroads, Autograph and Rivers businesses to Noni B Limited.

The company is now left with City Chic, the plus size (size 14+) chain, which has embraced multi-channel retailing, with online now representing more than a third of sales.

Speciality Fashion today posted its annual results, showing a loss of $6.97 million, reflecting adjustments associated with the divestment, and a 6.5% drop in revenue to $752.25 million.

However, City Chic sales revenue was up 5.5% to $131.9 million. Comparable sales growth was 12.9%, a standout result in a weak retail market.

In Australia, bricks and mortar retailers have been hit by an increasingly highly competitive market with digital players making inroads into market share and consumer sentiment keeping spending down.

Noni B, which becomes one of the largest women’s fashion retailers in Australia, paid $31 million cash for Millers, Katies, Crossroads, Autograph and Rivers.

Specialty Fashion will use the money of sale proceeds to pay down debt.

Specialty Fashion Chairman, Anne McDonald, says the sale marks a new beginning focused wholly on City Chic’s strategic priorities and growth.

“City Chic has effectively embraced the forces disrupting retail and, with online sales of 37% is one of Australia’s most cohesive and successful multi-channel retailers,” she says.

“With the right corporate and capital structure now in place, City Chic is well positioned to further strengthen its customer-led approach and execute its strategy to become a global brand.”

City Chic has 94 stores in Australia and another 13 Myer concessions.

The company now has cash of $16.1 million compared to $8.3 million net debt last year.

City Chic in numbers:

Source: Specialty Fashion Group

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