Diana Ferrari to close boutiques, exit fashion as focus turns to footwear

Fashion brand Diana Ferrari will close its bricks and mortar boutiques across the country, scrap its apparel line and focus solely on footwear as its owner tries to adapt to the tough retail environment.

Diana Ferrari’s owner, the Munro Footwear Group (MFG), said the 37-year-old brand’s shoes would continue to be sold online, and through its Williams and Mathers shops as well as David Jones and Myer.

MFG will close 14 Diana Ferrari boutiques in the coming months and three others will be rebranded. Five clearance outlets in Victoria and one in NSW will remain open.

MFG acquired Diana Ferrari in June last year when it bought Fusion Retail Brands, which also owned the Colorado label. This added to its own stable of vertically integrated brands including Styletread, Midas, Mollini, Wanted and Django & Juliette.

MFG’s chief executive, Jay Munro, said it was closing Diana Ferrari stores and exiting apparel so it could “focus on its core business and objective of being ‘s best footwear company”.

“Diana Ferrari is an iconic n footwear brand and MFG is committed through this change to further strengthen the brand going forward,” he said.

Mr Munro said Diana Ferrari stores and its apparel range had been “solid performers” but in the current retail environment, it was the right strategic decision for the company to focus solely on footwear.

All affected retail staff would be offered new jobs through MFG’s network of 280 stores, he said.

Accounts lodged with the corporate regulator show MFG’s revenue jumped by $20 million in the 12 months to July 2, 2017, to $57 million, off the back of its acquisitions.

But its after-tax profit fell from $2.8 million in 2016 to a loss of $482,894.

The Diana Ferrari stores in Woden, Canberra, and Sydney’s Chatswood, Penrith and Hornsby will close on January 21. The Miranda, Sydney, and Knox, Melbourne stores will close on January 28.

The news comes after plus-size retailer Maggie T entered administration last week, and a string of high-profile collapses over the past 18 months including Oroton, Marcs, David Lawrence, Herringbone, Rhodes & Beckett, Payless Shoes and kids fashion brand Pumpkin Patch.

But listed fashion group Noni B, which also owns Rockmans and beme, bucked the trend on Tuesday by announcing 3 per cent same-store sales growth for six months to December 31.

Noni B said it expected earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation for that half of $22 million – up 53 per cent on the same half in 2017, and almost equal to its 2017 full-year underlying EBITDA of $22.9 million.

The company’s shares had jumped 5.2 per cent to $2 by 3pm. Diana Ferrari boutiques that will close are:

NSW: Penrith Plaza, Chatswood, Hornsby, Miranda, Erina (rebrand), Kotara (rebrand), Warringah Mall, Burwood, Macquarie Centre, Macarthur Square

VIC: Knox City, Eastland, Fountain Gate, Southland

QLD: Chermside, Garden City (rebrand)

ACT: Woden

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