The university Co-op has saved Australian Geographic stores

The Sydney Observatory. William West/AFP/GettyImages

The Co-op, the university book retailer, has bought the network of Australian Geographic stores from Myer Family Investments.

Australian Geographic Retail, which now has no connection with the magazine of the same name, has 66 stores in shopping centres across Australia.

The price of the transaction hasn’t been made public but the stores turnover about $50 million a year.

The retailing Myer family has owned the stores since 2007 but earlier this year announced it wanted out, sparking speculation the chain would close.

The deal complements the Co-op’s position as the educational retailer for university students by enabling the combined brands to reach customers of a wider age bracket and in high foot-traffic shopping locations.

Australian Geographic stores are known for their educational toys, gadgets and focus on science on technology.

The Co-Op sees Australian Geographic stores as a way to be more relevant to its member base once they leave university.

“This is a historic milestone in the Co-op’s 58 year existence,” says Thorsten Wichtendahl, CEO of the Co-op.

“The marriage of these two iconic Australian brands provides a platform to better serve our customers.”

The Co-op is Australia’s largest member-owned retailer with 1.9 million members, made up of current and former university students.

The Australian Geographic stores grew from the magazine of the same name, founded by entrepreneur and adventurer Dick Smith in 1986 and now owned by Bauer Media Group.

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