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Retail Groups Merge For Strength

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Retail Groups Merge For Strength

Provincial 15-store retailer Furniture Court has amalgamated with the country's largest retail co-operative, Composite Retail Group.

Composite has 224 independently owned retailer members, including a 20-outlet furniture division.

Furniture Court members will retain their company shareholding and name but stores will become Composite members.

Furniture Court Chairman Colin Theyers says approaching Composite was a logical step to strengthen the operations of both groups.

The furniture retail sector has been severely affected by the recession and the "over population" of buying/franchise groups and independent retailers competing fiercely in a relatively small market.

He says both groups felt that a fundamental industry restructure was required and that amalgamation would improve individual operator financial performance.

Both Composite and Furniture Court have considerable intellectual property, preferential buying arrangements and "know how."

Composite's strong import programme will give Furniture Court members access to exclusive product.

Furniture Court's local preferred supplier arrangements will be shared with Composite members - increasing support for the country's besieged manufacturing industry.

Composite CEO Ian Caulfield says the merger is likely to attract the attention of other independent furniture retailers.

"They can benefit hugely from the co-operative model because unlike franchises it delivers all gains back to members and provides the resources to help fight back against larger competition," he says.

Mr Caulfield says the merger is the catalyst for the group to become the most competitive player in a retail sector presently dominated by overseas and locally-owned discount chains.

Composite was established in 1968 and its members cater for the mid to better-end of their respective markets.

These include footwear, fashion, giftware and furniture, along with 22 stores operating under the "Flooring First" brand.

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