Campus retailer Co-op buys out Australian Geographic retail stores


Australian campus retailer The Co-op will acquire Australian Geographic’s 66 retail stores from Myer Family Investments for an undisclosed sum.

MFI began winding down stores in July, having bought the educational retailer in 2007. At that time an Australian Geographic spokesperson told SmartCompany the business wind-up would be completed in the first half of 2017.

Australian Geographic retail and online store platforms will be rolled into operations at The Co-op in time for the Christmas trading period. Chief executive of Myer Family Investments Peter Hodgson said in a statement the purchase “marks a very positive story for the retail industry”.

The Co-op is an on-campus retailer with an online store offering and 63 bricks-and-mortar stores across Australia. It has an almost 2 million strong membership database, including a large cohort of current and former university students. Its inventory includes university textbooks, homewares, toys and office supplies. The store operates on a membership fee model in which users pay $25 for lifetime access to discounts and special offers.

The Co-op chief executive Thorsten Witchendahl said in the same statement the acquisition marries two like-minded brands into one for better customer service. The purchase “takes us much closer to fulfilling our goal of being the lifelong learning partner of Australians” he said.

A spokesperson for The Co-op told SmartCompany the retailer understands the “brand equity that Australian Geographic has” and the focus will be on keeping the Co-op and Australian Geographic identities separate.

“Both of our brands stand for learning and we can now provide products to both children and baby boomers,” he says.

The acquisition will be completed on September 5.


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