Amid recent reports of multiple retail closures, Munro Footwear Group (MFG) is going against the grain today announcing the expansion of its network to more than 300 shoe stores with the opening of 22 new stores across the country.

The new stores are part of an acquisition deal with Betts Group, which last month announced a plan to focus on its flagship stores and online business.

On 1 March, MFG took over its 22 Betts and Airflex sites in six states and territories, offering all 112 staff members employment in the newly branded Midas, Mathers and Williams stores.

The acquisition will see MFG gain market share in new locations and bring the popular Midas brand to the west coast of Australia*.

It follows the addition of 195 stores as part of the acquisition of Fusion Retail Brands in June last year.

MFG Chief Financial Officer Marcus Bartlett said the strategy to grow its bricks and mortar offering might come as a surprise to the rest of the sector.

“Selective growth of our store network is considered complimentary to our ongoing investment in online, which is contrary to how much of the sector is acting at the moment. Our customers tell us there is still a strong demand for physical shoe stores and we are making the most of the opportunities caused by uncertainty in the market to expand our network,” he said.

“The 22 new stores are predominantly in markets where we don’t yet have a physical footprint, so that’s exciting for us. Not only that, but we’ve been able to grow our 2,000-strong workforce and welcome former Betts employees into the Munro family.”

In addition to its growing physical presence, MFG is also behind the country’s largest online shoe store, Styletread, which last May reached the major milestone of $100 million in revenue since it was founded in 2010.

Bartlett said while they remained committed to the traditional shoe store, online was still an important focus. Online currently makes up over 10% of MFG’s sales and is expected to reach 20% in the next three years.

The new Midas, Mathers and Williams stores can be found in: WA (Morley, Booragoon, Karrinyup, Joondalup, Carousel, Midland Gate, Bunbury, Busselton), SA (Modbury, Port Lincoln, Mount Gambier, Edwardstown, Colonnades, Victor Harbour), VIC (Airport West, Frankston, Belmont), NSW (Wagga, Wollongong), QLD (Toowoomba) and the ACT (Canberra, Woden).

*MFG currently operates a number of Midas concession outlets in David Jones in WA.

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