Silly Solly’s success spreads south

The Queensland-based retailer is seeking to bring its “nothing over $5” business model to other states, with discussions already under way to expand the chain into NSW. And Silly Solly’s founder and consultant Solly Stanton told Inside Retail Weekly that the brand is looking to go Australia-wide.

“I’m hoping we’ll have at least a couple of stores in NSW by the end of this year,” Stanton revealed. “We’re on the move. We aim to build this brick by brick – to disrupt – and we’re having a lot of fun and our customers are having fun.”

Silly Solly’s currently trades in 13 locations across Queensland. It reopened in 2017 after it was purchased by The Warehouse Group in 2000, had its 44 stores integrated into the larger Warehouse chain, then rebranded into Sam’s Warehouse when the New Zealand group exited Australia.

“I decided last year, or the year before, to talk to [managing director] Brad Walton about re-establishing the chain,” Stanton said. “We started with Gladstone with one store back in October 2017, and now we’re up to 13 stores with another five or six in the pipeline before Christmas.

“We’re negotiating already with people in NSW. We’d love to attack that market.”

The expansion comes at a time when many other discount retail chains are struggling. Last week, The Reject Shop confirmed a downgraded full-year guidance, as well as the departure of its chief executive due to slowing foot traffic and customer demand.

The key to Silly Solly’s success, Stanton explains, is its “nothing over $5” pricing model, which is attractive to customers already struggling with the increasing cost of living in Australia.

“People can’t afford the cost of electricity – the cost of living now is going through the roof,” Stanton said. “We just want our customers to live a bit better. We want them to save money and live better.”

Selling products for such a low amount narrows the business’s profit margin significantly, though Stanton said Silly Solly’s targets high turnover rather than high margins. This has been achieved through strong supply contracts with many suppliers that are wanting to clear stock.

Additionally, Stanton stresses that the only people Silly Solly’s reports to are its customers, easing the focus off of profit and onto service and growth.  

“The customers are our bosses. Our bosses are not shareholders,” Stanton said.

“We aim to disrupt by offering quality goods at the lowest prices. A lot of people sell cheap stuff, but we sell good stuff cheap.”

The plan to revitalise the chain initially came about when the leadership team saw an opportunity – an ultra-low-priced gap in the market. And while other retailers are struggling with competition from online, or customers comparing prices with competitors in-store on their phones, this isn’t something that Stanton is experiencing.

“As a general statement, there wouldn’t be a store in Australia, whether it’s a grocery store or a clothing store, where people don’t go online to check the price. I don’t think they need to do that with us,” Stanton said.

“We’re not complaining about online shopping. Bring it on.”

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