By Martin Vedris

MELBOURNE: The Myer retail group announced Townsville, Qld will be its 66th store as it adds retail outlets and distribution centres to its sprawling network in a bid to achieve its stated aim of creating a $4 billion business with 75 stores in three years.

Scheduled to be opened for trading in the first half of 2009, Townsville is the eighth new store that Myer has announced this year, and with a number of new sites currently under negotiation, the retail group says it is on track to deliver on its store expansion strategy of increasing its chain to 75 stores nationwide over the next three years.

“With a number of other new sites under negotiation I can confidently say we will take Myer to a $4B business with 75 stores,” stated Bernie Brookes, CEO of Myer, when the group announced its 65th store, to be located inside Centro at Bankstown NSW, in May.

The Townsville store will be located at Stockland Townsville on Ross River Road, Aitkenvale, which already boasts approximately 120 specialty stores and services. According to a report in the Financial Review, the Myer announcement is encouraging Stockland to spend at least $100 million to upgrade the store.

The latest new Myer stores scheduled to open in the coming weeks include: Colonnades, SA on 28 July and Elizabeth, SA on 1 August. Meanwhile, Bankstown, NSW is scheduled for a December 2007 opening with Eastgardens, NSW and North Lakes, Qld due to open next year.

In addition to the new stores, Myer is also upgrading its distribution network with the development of four warehouses across Australia including the group’s first regional distribution centre (DC) in Richlands, Qld, a 22,500 square metre facility. The group’s 12,585 square metre DC in Kewdale, WA, opened in late May and its 29,000 square metre DC, located at Sydney’s Eastern Creek, is scheduled for an August 2007 opening and was designed to be capable of serving over 50 department stores.

According to a company statement, from September fashion will reach Myer stores 21 days faster, in a better and more store ready condition, and at significantly lower cost, than under the previous arrangements. Also, the Kewdale DC will allow Myer to bring product directly to customers in Western Australia, and is part of a national program to deliver cost savings of around 40%. Product from China will be shipped down the West Coast of Australia rather than freighted across the Nullarbor Plain.

‘We regard our solution as world class. No wonder we say ‘Supply Chain is Sexy’ in our business,” said Bill Wavish Myer executive chairman.