growth

Munro family buys $20 million retail chain Mountfords Shoes

Eloise Keating /

Melbourne shoe retailer Mountfords Shoes has found a new home with rapidly growing footwear group, Munro Shoes.

Mountfords Shoes owner John Parrella advertised his 11-store strong footwear chain in December 2014, saying he wanted to retire after 40 years in business.

The $20 million business has been acquired by the Munro family, which operates footwear wholesaler Styling Services, which owns and distributes popular shoe brands Mollini, Django & Juliette, Midas, I Love Billy and Gamins. The brand was launched by founder Graham Munro in 1962.

Styling Services brands are sold in more than 500 stockists in Australia.

The Munro Shoes group also includes a growing footwear retail operation that includes bricks-and-mortar retailers Cinori and Midas and online retailer Style Tread.

The Mountfords acquisition, the price of which is undisclosed, follows the Munro group’s acquisition of retailer Wanted Shoes in March. Wanted Shoes operates 17 footwear stores in New South Wales and turns over more than $20 million annually.

Bill Munro, general manager of wholesale for Munro Shoes, told SmartCompany acquiring Mountfords Shoes is a natural fit for the business founded by his father Graham in the 1950s.

“We were already selling our wholesale brands in the stores and they were retailing very well,” Munro says.

“With our other retail business we had 65 stores prior to the acquisition so it will mean we can expand our retail footprint.”

All Mountfords employees will continue to work for the business following the acquisition, with the head office team already relocating to the Munro headquarters. The stores will also retain the Mountfords branding.

“There is strong brand recognition, particularly in Victoria,” Munro says.

Munro says the two parties had been in discussions for around 18 months but those talks became more serious during the past nine months.

And while Munro says his family’s business would consider further acquisitions to fuel growth, he says “we certainly have our hands full at the moment”.

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Eloise Keating

Eloise Keating is the editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Eloise was news editor at Books+Publishing, the trade press for the Australian book industry.

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