• Harris Scarfe
    Harris Scarfe

Footwear and clothing retailer Diana Ferrari is the latest to close retail sites.

In an update to ragtrader.com.au, parent company Munro Footwear Group confirmed 14 stores will close and four will be rebranded.

"The clearance stores, suome of which are branded to Diana Ferrari, are staying open and operating as normal," the company said in a statement.

"Diana Ferrari footwear will continue to be sold through Mathers, Williams, wholesale stockists, clearance stores and major department stores.

"Munro Footwear Group has a network of more than 280 stores, so is very much dedicated to its bricks-and-mortar offering.

"The Diana Ferrari footwear brand will remain critical to the future success of Munro Footwear Group. It Is anticipated that this refocus will help the business reach its full potential.

The news follows the appointment of administrators to Maggie T last month.

Jirsch Sutherland partner Andrew Spring said the retail sector is "really struggling."

"2017 saw a number of high profile brands collapse and 2018 is already off to a bumpy start with Maggie T entering into administration, and Diana Ferrari announcing that it will be closing all of its physical stores in the coming months - painting a gloomy picture for Australian retailers.

"This news shows that well-known brands are surrendering to the mounting pressure faced by traditional bricks and mortar operations.

"As the online retail marketplace expands and traditional geographical barriers to entry are removed, Aussie retailers are dealing with more competition than ever before.

"And those retailers that have failed to evolve by investing in their e-commerce platforms, will continue to feel the pain this year as they find the costs of a having a bricks and mortar store too high.

"It also particularly difficult on retailers when they are committed to leases and staff, and they’re locked in.

"Other key contributors include obsolete stock issues, and poor record keeping. We predict that we haven’t seen the worst of retail woes and that 2018 will unfortunately see many more homegrown brands go into insolvency."

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