SYDNEY — Fast-growing Geelong, Victoria-based retail conglomerate Cotton On Group, is about to embark on the next phase of its international expansion with plans to roll out 30 stores for its Supré teen fashion chain in South Africa within the next five years.
Supré general manager Elle Roseby told WWD on Friday that the group has earmarked sites for South Africa’s first four Supré stores, with the first due to open in Cape Town’s Cavendish Square mall in October. An additional three stores are slated to open by June 2017.
Founded in 1984 and acquired by the Cotton On Group in 2013, Supré has 108 stores across Australia and 10 in New Zealand, with plans to grow that Australasian network to 160 in the next five years Roseby said.
While Supré attracts customers as young as nine, its target demographic is a 17-year-old girl – while Cotton On’s is 21.
Supré’s size range is Australian 4 to 16, or American 1 to 12, and the company is known for its rapid style turnover, with fresh shipments of merchandise delivered into stores on a daily basis and advertising campaigns launching every few months.
Prices start at 3 Australian dollars, or $2 at current exchange, for a packet of Supré mints or a lip balm; 15 Australian dollars, or $11, for a pair of sunglasses; 30 Australian dollars, or $23, for a knit dress, and reach 70 Australian dollars, or $52, for an embroidered polyester bomber, distressed denim jacket or cotton parka.
More than 90 percent of the South African range will be the same as Australia’s, with 10 percent tailored to the local market, Roseby said.
The company pushes a strong antibullying message, partnering with youth initiatives in each market. Plans are being finalized for a partnership with a South African organization, along the lines of Australia’s National Youth Mental Health Organization and New Zealand’s Graeme Dingle Foundation, with which the Supré Foundation already works.
According to Roseby, Supré’s South Africa stores will feature the new “Clubhouse” store concept that was unveiled with the new store at the Melbourne Central shopping mall last week. Designed as a hangout for girls, the Supré Clubhouse concept features pink school lockers and merchandising units, inspirational quotes on the walls, double-sized changing rooms so girls can shop with their girlfriends and a phone charging station.
The big picture for Supré, according to Roseby, is: “To be as large as Cotton On [the group’s biggest brand], in 17 countries, that’s the end goal — one day.”
Founded in 1991, the Cotton On Group’s eight-brand portfolio includes Cotton On, Cotton On Body, Cotton On Kids, Free by Cotton On, Factorie, Typo and Rubi, all in varying growth stages. The group operates more than 1,400 stores in 18 countries, 600 of them opened over the past six years.
In May — while unveiling a 28,230-square-foot Cotton On store in the Mall of Africa, Waterfall City, its biggest global flagship — the company reported South Africa is its fastest-growing market, with plans to double its business to 350 stores there within the next three years. The Mall of Africa store includes the Cotton On, Cotton On Kids, Cotton On Body, Rubi and Free brands, with Factorie and Typo due to open separate stand-alone stores in the mall.
The company has said it expects to achieve 1.8 billion Australian dollars, or $1.4 billion, in sales for fiscal 2016, up 20 percent on 2015, with 6 billion Australian dollars, or $5 billion, in sales projected by 2025 to 2026. Five hundred and seventy new stores are slated to open over the next two years, taking store numbers to almost 2,000.