Colette by Colette Hayman will pursue a digital-first strategy under its new owners.

Ex-Myer and Edcon CEO Bernie Brookes is major shareholder and executive chairman with John Skellern as CEO.

Originally, the store footprint was 138 stores across predominately Australia and New Zealand, with sales in excess of $140 million. 

The new Colette business will have 35 retail outlets across mainland states and a significantly enhanced online presence.

The business has retained approximately 300 employees and concluded landlord negotiations to ensure continuity of trade.

Brookes said plans are underway to navigate the COVID-19 trading landscape.

“Having John Skellern as CEO with an experienced group of current managers and staff will provide a tremendous kick start to the business, with its own in-house digital, design and marketing team in place to ensure a focus on online sales and digital.

"The buying team has maintained a strong interface with the suppliers and we have completed landlord negotiations.

"The new Colette footprint comprises only one-third of the original stores, and a fledgling online business, which with dedicated resources and focus will deliver one-third of total revenue.”

Brookes said the investment comes at a crucial time for retail.

“My decision to take the majority shareholding will be viewed as contrary to the current difficulties facing bricks and mortar retail.

"Owning a fashion retail chain is about true omnichannel retail; a strong online presence and physical stores.

"Our purchase will enable the business to land in a future post COVID-19 in advance of any cessation of lockdowns and restrictions in the future, and our core offer of handbags and jewellery will continue, with a fresh focus on the strong performing stores retained, and a significant investment in the digital space.”

In regard to staff and suppliers, Brookes said key relationships will be central to success.

"Key staff have been retained, and we have developed a strong plan to stabilise and then build the brand while investing in the business.

"In addition, we have a strong supplier base who will continue to support Colette including providing much needed fresh stock immediately to stores."

comments powered by Disqus