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Dymocks opens new store in Melbourne; regional WA store to close

Chain retailer Dymocks has opened a new store at Highpoint Shopping Centre, in Melbourne’s inner west. The Highpoint store is the first Dymocks to open in a new location in Victoria in two years, bringing the total number of Dymocks franchises in the state to 17.

Dymocks Highpoint is the fifth store for franchise owners Michelle Lee and John Brock, who have operated in Victoria and WA for 30 years.

The new shop will place a strong emphasis on non-book product, with 15% of the floor space to be merchandised for gifts, cards, wrap and stationery.

Lee said: ‘We’re excited to bring Dymocks to Highpoint. We have a significant customer base in the area and we’re looking forward to offering the service, range and value that the well-read team of Dymocks prides itself on delivering.’

Meanwhile, a Dymocks franchise in the town of Albany, Western Australia, is closing down. Opened in late 2008, the store is located on Albany’s main shopping strip, 400 kilometres southeast of Perth. Owner Deborah Congdon confirmed the store’s closure and attributed it to a number of reasons, including high franchise fees and the remoteness of Albany.

‘Because we’re remote, it takes approximately two weeks to get a book from the eastern states,’ Congdon told Books+Publishing. ‘Some people cannot be bothered waiting so they get the information from us, take a photograph and buy online.’

She added: ‘[The industry is] very east-centric. I told Dymocks that they should have a conference [in WA] and the look on their faces said it all.’

Congdon also cited high rent as a contributing factor, saying that many local businesses have closed in recent months.

An ex-teacher librarian, Congdon said that while her background is in books, her late husband dealt with the business side of things: ‘It’s my shop and I’ve pushed it but my husband passed away in 2012 so it’s been a hard slog.’

Dymocks general manager Sophie Higgins responded by saying it is ‘always very sad’ when a store must close, noting that the Albany business has been for sale for some time, along with another independent book business in town that has been for sale for a similar period. ‘Retail sales in regional areas are experiencing above average growth in online sales and while booklovers still love to visit their local bookstore, the increased competition along with other factors like rent and wage growth can make business challenging for any retailer.’

Higgins also said the reason for not having a conference in WA is because of the ‘expense for our suppliers in getting to and setting up a trade show’, adding: ‘There is no doubt that distribution to Western Australia can be a challenge but suppliers like Penguin Random House have taken a number of steps to improve speed to market this Christmas and throughout the year.’

Dymocks Albany will close on 6 December.

 

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