Things look up for Myer as boom pushes Darwin store

THE Top End will have its first full-line department store after Myer announced it would open a two-level 12,000 square metre outlet in Darwin offering a large range of apparel, cosmetics, homewares and electrical merchandise.

THE Top End will have its first full-line department store after Myer announced it would open a two-level 12,000 square metre outlet in Darwin offering a large range of apparel, cosmetics, homewares and electrical merchandise.

The chief executive, Bernie Brookes, said the new store delivered an opportunity for 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.

Community support for a Myer store had been "tremendous," he said.

Myer, the nation's biggest department store chain, plans to be a part of GPT Group's proposed expansion of Darwin's Casuarina Square Shopping Centre.

The store is likely to benefit from the mining boom, which has touched regional areas, as well as from 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," he said.

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

When Myer floated on the Australian Securities Exchange in 2009 its prospectus said the owner wanted to operate in 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 stores (Queensland and Victoria) in September and October. Shares in Myer ended 2? weaker at $1.60.

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