Vans will expand its Australian retail footprint under the Accent Group with new stores set to open in Perth and Brisbane. Today’s news also follows an interview Accent Group Chief executive Daniel Agostinelli gave the Australian Financial Review earlier this week with Accent Group cementing its leadership of the $3.3 billion footwear market by lifting targets for new stores and online sales while exploring growth opportunities in Asia. Chief executive Daniel Agostinelli told AFR his guidance for mid-single-digit earnings (EBITDA) growth in 2019 was likely to prove conservative as Australia’s largest footwear retailer opened more than 30 new stores and used its existing 446 stores to distribute online orders, beating rivals such as Amazon on same-day deliveries.
“We’re conservative in our very nature,” Mr Agostinelli told The Australian Financial Review on Tuesday after delivering a better than expected 18 per cent increase in underlying net profit to $47.1 million in 2018.
“If we continue to trade at the levels we’re at, it’s likely we’ll do a bit better than mid single-digit growth,” he said, “but we’re only seven weeks into the year [and] the environment remains uncertain”.
Accent expects same-store sales to rise by low single digits this year but sales in the first seven weeks are already ahead of forecasts, rising 4.6 per cent, despite widespread industry discounting and political upheaval. Accent is also launching a new website focused on selling children’s shoes, and will make its entire catalogue available to customers instore and online as part of an “endless aisles” strategy. It will also start selling brands also under Accent Group such as Skechers on Amazon.com.au.
Accent’s decision to avoid “lazy discount-fuelled retailing” paid off in 2018 – helping boost gross margins by 200 basis points – and said it would stick to its guns in 2019.
“It was a gutsy call… but we’ve enjoyed better margins from less sales,” Mr Agostinelli told AFR.
The 2018 result, which excluded a $9.7 million write-down on the Hype DC brand in 2017, exceeded consensus forecasts around $42.1 million.
Underlying earnings (EBITDA) rose 16 per cent to $90.8 million – beating consensus forecasts of about $86.7 million – as reduced discounting sent gross margins up 200 basis points to 54.8 per cent. Group sales (including sales from The Athletes Foot) rose 4.9 per cent to $861 million, with online sales soaring 131 per cent, augmenting same-store sales growth of 2 per cent.
The roll out of Vans stores also introduces the first Vans Concept store to Brisbane CBD opening Friday 21st September.
Vans Concept Store – Carousel
Shop 1222 Westfield Carousel, 1382 Albany Hwy, Cannington WA 6107
Vans Concept Store – Murray St
Lower Ground 195 Murray St, Perth WA 6000
Vans Concept Store – Brisbane Mall
136 Queen St, Brisbane QLD 4000
Opening Friday 21st September 2018
Vans Outlet Store – DFO Perth
Shop G-030 DFO Perth, Dunreath Dr, Perth Airport WA 6105
Opening Wednesday 3rd October 2018
Vans x Varsity Party
Varsity Project, 33 Rudloc Road, Morley WA 6062
Saturday 15th September from 4pm
VIA Australian Financial Review