Country Road flies the flags

Australian Open partner Country Road is offering a pop-up store located at the new Melbourne Park Retail High Street, which is to open on January 12.

Designed to be a tranquil retreat, the pop-up will offer unisex styles for both adults and children inspired by the brand’s heritage collection. It will include a personalisation service which will allow customers to have country flags, as well as names and initials, embossed onto Country Road totes, caps and visors.

“As the official lifestyle fashion partner, we are proud to expand our support beyond uniforms to exclusive merchandise and a reinvigorated retail experience,” Country Road managing director Elle Roseby said.

“During last year’s tournament 95 per cent of all accessories sold were personalised, and we are thrilled to be adding country flags to get tennis-goers excited for 2019.”

Additionally, Country Road and Australian Open have collaborated on an exclusive co-brand collection, which includes T-shirts, sweats, tote bags and caps in various pastel colours. The collection will be available in Australian Open shops around Melbourne Park during the tournament, as well as on the Australian Open online store.

Craig Tiley, tournament director for the Australian Open, said the collaboration builds on the successful partnership.

“It’s the first time the Australian Open has designed a co-branded fashion range and we couldn’t be happier with the final result,” Tiley said.

“We have worked closely with Country Road to develop the range, which is on-trend as the tournament approaches.”

Country Road also has designed and will provide the uniforms for the on-court officials for the tournament, as well as operations staff, player services team, drivers, medical staff, Tennis Australia staff and management.

The fashion brand, owned by South African-based parent company Woolworths Holdings Limited, saw a 1.7 per cent increase in total sales during 2018, though comparable store sales fell 1.8 per cent over the period.

Country Road’s online sales increased by more than 20 per cent during 2018 and represented 18 per cent of total sales.

Pop-ups gain serious cred

As concept and pop-up stores gain prominence in the Australian retail landscape, KPMG partner of customer, brands and marketing advisory Lisa Bora told IRW that digital brands were starting to see the importance of offering a physical experience to customers as well.

KPMG head of retail Trent Duvall added that the success these pop-up offerings gather has led to the concept going from experiment to strategy for many retailers.

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