May 15, 2018
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Brand buys make Noni B Australia's biggest womenswear retailer

May 15, 2018

Noni B will become the biggest women’s fashion retailer in Australia after it buys the Katies, Millers, Crossroads, Autograph and Rivers brands for A$31 million from local retail peer Specialty.


The enlarged company will generate more than A$1 billion in sales annually as it combines the businesses with its existing signature chain and its Rockmans, W Lane and BeMe brands.

The purchase will also mean it has 1,350 retail stores, up from 645 units at present and will see it leapfrogging over current market number one, Premier Investments, which is controlled by Solomon Lew.

Specialty has seen its losses mounting up in recent periods and a mooted rescue deal on the part of the Qatari royal family’s investment company didn’t materialise last year.

Specialty has blamed the highly promotional Australian market for its woes with the company being forced into aggressive discounting that was unsustainable over the long term.

But while Noni B will see its size increasing as it buys the lossmaking business, the company isn’t expecting a speedy turnaround with further losses predicted for the 2018 financial year.

Group CEO Scott Evans told AAP that the firm’s “disciplined approach to costs of doing business, combined with our customer focus, will ensure a successful turnaround.”

He expects part of that process to be around cost savings due to synergies and that the acquired brands will break even in the 2019 year.

Meanwhile, Specialty is retaining its City Chic brand and said the focus on that label “was the best plan”. City Chic has around 110 stores and an international e-store and is profitable on an Ebitda basis.

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