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Online key as SA shoe store sales trip over

Business

South Australia’s footwear and personal accessories retailers are recording their lowest turnover in years, with a dramatic decline in the past nine months.

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Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, released yesterday, show turnover in the SA industry was $39 million in April – the lowest level in four and a half years.

Turnover reached a peak of $46.6 million in June last year, before plummeting 16 per cent over the nine months to April this year.

Turnover in SA’s footwear and personal accessories industry has declined sharply. Figures: Australian Bureau of Statistics. Graph: Nicky Capurso / Bension Siebert / InDaily

The April 2019 turnover figure is the lowest since late 2014. Figures: Australian Bureau of Statistics. Graph: Nicky Capurso / Bension Siebert / InDaily

Grundy’s Shoes has been trading in Adelaide since 1896 (it was earlier known as H. Grundy and Co).

CEO Damien Whittenbury told InDaily many local footwear retailers had underestimated the impact of customers moving online recently, and that those who had invested in a strong web presence were doing better than others.

He said Grundy’s Shoes had grown strongly over the past year despite the wider local industry downturn, saying its turnover had risen about three or four per cent during the past 12 months.

“We’ve sort of bucked the trend a little bit,” he said.

“It’s probably come down to some of our bigger brands being on-trend.

“Birkenstocks are massive with young kids and they’ve always been popular (with older demographics).”

He said Grundy’s launched a new website about 18 months ago and was determined to go where the customer is.

“I think people have underestimated the power of it (the move to online),” he said.

“Those (retailers) that have a pretty strong online presence seem to be doing pretty well, and those that don’t sort of struggle.

“It’s growing at quite a fast rate … no sense of it slowing as yet.”

It was better news for the broader South Australian retail industry, which reached a new record high turnover of $1.79 billion in seasonally adjusted terms, in April this year.

SA retail turnover has grown strongly over the past year. Figures: Australian Bureau of Statistics. Graph: Nicky Capurso / Bension Siebert / InDaily

That’s $54 million higher than in April last year.

Turnover in the broader SA retail trade has steadily grown over the past decade.

Retail turnover in South Australia has been growing steadily over the past decade. Figures: Australian Bureau of Statistics. Graph: Nicky Capurso / Bension Siebert / InDaily

Last month, iconic, Adelaide-based bootmaker R.M. Williams was put on sale for a reported price of up to $500 million.

The company is majority-owned by multinational private equity firm L Catterton.

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