British fashion retailer Paul Smith sets up shop in Australia

British fashion retailer Paul Smith is to establish its first Australian store in Melbourne, as international chains continue to make their mark on the local market.


The retailer, which sells designer menswear, has secured a lease at the Paris end of Melbourne’s Collins Street. The lease was negotiated by Savills and CB Richard Ellis.


Michael Di Carlo, Savills associate director of retail services, says Paul Smith is an exciting addition to the precinct’s pre-eminent fashion credentials.


“[The arrival of Paul Smith] continues the tradition of prestigious fashion houses and boutiques that have set up shop here over the years,” Di Carlo says.


According to Max Cookes, senior manager of CBRE retail services, retail turnover in the Melbourne CBD outperforms all other high street shopping strips in the state.


“Other international retailers who have recently secured flagship stores in Melbourne’s CBD include Zara, Swarovski and Thomas Pink,” Cookes says.


The news comes on the back of an announcement by fellow British retailer Topshop that it will open the doors of its first Australian store – also in Melbourne – on December 8.


Meanwhile, United States retailing giant Costco looks set to open its first Queensland store, staking a claim on a parcel of land 25 kilometres north of Brisbane.


The retailer, which has 592 warehouses worldwide with revenues of about $78 billion, has turned up the heat against domestic competitors, namely Woolworths and Coles.


Costco has opened three outlets in Australia: the first in Melbourne’s Docklands, the second in Sydney’s Auburn and the third at Majura Park adjoining Canberra Airport, which opened in July.


After Queensland, Costco’s next move is likely to be a second store in Melbourne.


According to Linwar Securities, Costco is aiming to establish 10 stores in Australia in five years, potentially taking $2 billion in sales from retailers and wholesalers.


On a local front, niche online retailer OZhut has expanded its offering with the launch of OZKitchenware, which is set to secure more than $200,000 in profit over the next few months.


Founded in 2008 by Wai Hong Fong, OZhut has grown its eCommerce offering to represent 12 different verticals including breathalysers, bubble wrap, dog beds and motorcycle gear.


The company focuses on each niche area by building and fostering a loyal following, offering educational materials and providing exceptional customer service.


“We believe we have a good mix of the above three, allowing us to be a major disrupter in the market,” Fong says.


“When you walk into a bricks-and-mortar store today, like Myer or David Jones, this is far from their focus.”


“There are unmanned counters, it’s difficult to find help, they carry a small range, and high prices all contribute to the retardation of retail growth in Australia.”


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