Bevilles is closing its Queensland stores
Bevilles Jewellers closes Queensland stores
After a five-year foray into Queensland, jewellery chain Bevilles will
close its two suburban Brisbane stores by the end of July.
Bevilles’ stores in Chermside and North Lakes, which opened in 2006 and 2007 respectively will close in the coming weeks as the retailer shifts its focus back to its Victorian and NSW operations.
Michelle Stanton, managing director Bevilles, told Jeweller that the decision was made not to renew leases because the stores were not achieving adequate turnover, despite impressive foot traffic.
“[Queensland] wasn’t a high turnover centre,” Stanton said. “Although our stores were always quite busy, the jewellery side of the business always had more challenges, be it the branding or the staffing.
“The leases were at the end of their period, so you evaluate whether it’s worthwhile to continue on and sign a new lease or whether you’re better off focusing elsewhere,” she added. “You have three choices; expand, stay or get out. We took the opportunity to get out.”
Stanton said Bevilles struggled to cut through in the Queensland market due to demographic differences from its main markets in Sydney and Melbourne and the distance of the Queensland stores from its headquarters.
“We found Queensland not an easy market to penetrate, so I would say it wasn’t a part of our immediate future to [continue to] expand,” she said. “The demographic profile didn’t match very well with [Bevilles’ typical customer].
She also said that it was difficult to manage two stores that were a far distance from the Victorian head office, “So we made the decision to concentrate on the markets we want to expand on [VIC, NSW and SA].”
Stanton said the move into Queensland in 2006 was less successful than Bevilles’ expansion into South Australia, where the chain still has three stores.
“The brand awareness in South Australia was higher than in Queensland,” she explained. “A lot of people in Adelaide come to Melbourne to shop whereas the Queensland-Melbourne connection isn’t as strong.
“The [opening of the] first store in Adelaide [people’s reaction’s were] like ‘oh my goodness, I’ve been waiting for this day’. Where in Queensland, it was just another store opening.”
Stanton also said Bevilles’ high intensity work environment didn’t seem to suit the culture of Queensland, but the business had developed a team she was sad to let go.
“The teams have been lovely to work with and are dedicated to the brand,” she said. “Starting in new states is difficult, but over the last two years, we have got a great team in there.”
Stanton said the move out of Queensland would not make way for store openings in other markets.
“The current [retail] market is volatile,” she said. “We’ve got no plans for new store openings in the immediate future.” She said the company would concentrate on its 19 Victoria, seven NSW and three South Australian stores.
The company’s high-profile, Bourke Street Mall store in Melbourne was closed in August 2011 after being trumped by Swarovski on a new lease deal. At the time the Australian Financial Review reported that Swarovski had agreed to pay more than $1 million for the 105 square metre store. ?
Stanton told Jeweller at the time that competing with international retailers is a new challenge that Australian retailers must contend with.
“International players have come to town and they have the ability to pay fabulous rent. The right rent moving forward [for smaller companies] is difficult, due to these international companies,” Stanton said.
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Posted June 26, 2012