Diana Ferrari stores to shut as owner Munro Footwear looks to “strengthen” the brand

Photo: Leah Kelly, Pexels

Women’s footwear brand Diana Ferrari has told customers it will close all of its bricks-and-mortar stores and end its clothing line.

In an email to shoppers on Monday, the 37-year old brand said all its 17 standalone stores would close in the coming months, with a number to be rebranded. The label’s footwear will be sold in the future through an online store and distributors Williams and Mathers, as well as in major department stores.

Six Diana Ferrari stores will close before the end of January, with sites at Woden, Chatswood, Penrith, Hornsby, Miranda and Knox to close up shop by January 28, the retailer told customers. It said the spring/summer collection of the brand’s clothing line Santorini will be its last.

The move comes just six months after Diana Ferrari owner Fusion Retail Brands was acquired by the Munro Footwear Group (MFG), which finalised its acquisition of Fusion’s retail portfolio, including the Diana Ferrari and Colorado brands, at the end of June 2017.

There are currently 17 Diana Ferrari stores in Australia, with MFG confirming 14 of these will close over the coming months, with the remainder being rebranded.

Diana Ferrari clearance stores will remain open.

In a statement, Munro Footwear chief executive Jay Munro said the company took the tough decision to change strategy, including ending production of the clothing imprint, given the company’s “core business and objective of being Australia’s best footwear company”.

“This was a difficult decision because Diana Ferrari Retail and its apparel division have been solid performers with a loyal customer base and staff dedicated to a high level of customer service,” Munro said.

“However, focusing purely on footwear across all MFG brands is the right strategic decision for the company in the current retail landscape.

“Diana Ferrari is an iconic Australian footwear brand and MFG is committed through this change to further strengthen the brand going forward.”

Retail staff at the existing Diana Ferrari stores will be offered continued employment at other stores within the Munro Footwear network, which the company said includes more than 280 other retail stores.

Munro, a family business founded in 1962, says it established itself as Australia’s largest footwear company at the time of the Fusion acquisition. It now owns and operates 16 brands including Style Tread, Cinori, Django and Juliette, Mountfords and Midas.

On Monday, retail experts reflected that more local brands could look to consolidate or revisit strategy for their store networks, given challenging conditions are predicted to continue in the Australian market in 2018.

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