Baby Bunting eyes expansion despite rival closures
The expansion comes at a time when rival baby goods retailers are finding it tough. Bubs has gone into voluntary administration with eight stores affected (six in Qld and 2 in northern NSW); Baby Bounce have closed three stores in the last 12 months; Toys R Us has filed for bankruptcy in the US and Canada; BabyCo has closed two stores – formerly a four-store chain; and Mothercare, My Baby Warehouse, Pram Warehouse, Babies Galore – are all chains of stores that have closed in the last 3+ years.
Baby Bunting’s next store will open at the Harvey Norman Centre in Albury before the end of the year.
With 43 stores currently open, the company has a target for more than 80 stores across Australia.
“It is very sad that many parents have been affected by a number of recent competitor store closures,” said Baby Bunting CEO, Matt Spencer.
“While some in the sector are closing their doors, we are going from strength to strength. We are incredibly excited about investing in the local economy in Albury and we are currently looking to build a team as we finalise our arrangements for the new store which will stock the widest range of products to meet the needs of parents-to-be and parents with children from newborn to three years of age.
“Albury is such a great location for us as a major regional city and we can also service the broader region which includes nearby Wodonga as well as centres such as Wangaratta and Wagga Wagga.”
Spencer said while it was disappointing that competitors in Australia were experiencing challenges, he was confident the business was in a “very solid” position.
“Unlike other baby goods retailers, we have almost four decades of history and experience in Australia and a deep understanding of parents’ and babies’ needs. We have a national network of stores and we won’t be beaten on price. As a result our customer base, sales and profits have all grown and in the 2017 financial year we almost doubled full-year profit to $12.2 million,” he said.
Spencer said Baby Bunting was well prepared to meet new online competition which has been foreshadowed in the baby goods market. “While there is a lot of talk around online competition, we know that our pricing stacks up well and provides great value to our customers.
“Our parenting rooms are equipped with a microwave, change table, baby scales and glider chairs so parents can attend to their baby’s needs in comfort and we provide an accredited car seat fittings service. These elements, coupled with onsite parking and a strong focus on customer service, provide parents with an enjoyable experience and unique shopping destination.
“I believe we are well equipped to deal with what the competition throws at us.”
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