Myer takes quest for better bottom line to the Top End

THE Top End is to have its first full-line department store.

THE Top End is to have its first full-line department store.

Myer has announced it will open its first store in Darwin, with the outlet to be a two-level 12,000 sq m store featuring a large range of apparel, cosmetics, homewares and electrical merchandise.

Chief executive Bernie Brookes said the venture would be Darwin's first full-line department store and would enable Myer to reach a significant growth area and a new customer base in the north of Australia.

"As we optimise our store network across the country, Darwin is the ideal location for a new store, and will expand our customer base and footprint into the Northern Territory for the first time," Mr Brookes said. "Darwin is a region of significant economic growth, and the community support for the addition of a Myer store has been tremendous."

Myer, the country's biggest department store, has joined with property company GPT Group to be a part of the proposed expansion of Darwin's Casuarina Square Shopping Centre.

The store is likely to benefit from the mining boom, which has touched regional areas of Australia, as well as the Northern Territory's growing popularity as a tourist destination.

"The store will be in an ideal location for us," Mr Brookes said.

"Casuarina Square is already a well-established centre that has a strong customer offer including specialty retail, supermarkets, discount department stores and a cinema.

"We believe the addition of a full-line Myer store will further strengthen the customer proposition," he said.

It comes as Myer seeks to expand its current store network from 66 to as many as 75 by 2015-16.

When Myer floated on the Australian Securities Exchange in November 2009 its prospectus said the department store owner wanted to operate out of 80 locations by 2014.

However, those growth plans have had to be reined in following the global financial crisis, a pull-back in consumer spending and a decision to walk away from overpriced leases at underperforming shopping centres.

Myer has closed two stores this year but is planning to open two new ones (in Queensland and Victoria) in September and October.

Shares in Myer ended 2? weaker at $1.60.

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