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Business

Pint-sized Mosman store punches above its weight


“Sarah (Gittoes) and Robert (Sebastian Grynkoski) have established a loyal following for their work, so they weren’t after a large shingle out front announcing their arrival on this strip,” adds Landini.

With the store being only 80 square metres in area, every centimetre had to count.

So even before one opens the front door, the ‘floating’ display case that straddles the entire length of the narrow space, had to make its mark.

The display case abuts the front window, allowing a peek of the jewellery on offer.

“Robert (Gittoes’ business partner) and I come from an industrial design background.

As with our jewellery, we wanted the interior to be tactile, but also with a certain softness,” says Gittoes, pointing out the rich walnut joinery that frames the consulting area at the rear of the store.

The store is only 80 square metres in area, every centimetre had to count.

The store is only 80 square metres in area, every centimetre had to count.Credit:Ross Honeysett

Rather than fill the space with superfluous detail, Landini created a few strong gestures.

To one side is the glass-topped display case, supported by a steel beam.

On the other side is black glass-fronted joinery with a transparent glass display case that allows everything from fine jewellery to art pieces and objects d’art, to be exhibited.

“We didn’t want the interior to overwhelm the jewellery.

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It was more important to engage with the craft of making.

Jewellery has a wonderful heritage of making,” says Gittoes, who is Sarah & Sebastian’s creative director.

Landini is used to working on large-scale retail projects, such as his current involvement with Selfridges in London, or with slithers of spaces Down Under.

For this store, he was conscious of the fit-out being minimal and well-crafted, together with subtle gallery-style lighting concealed within the black-painted ceiling.

“Retail design, irrespective of scale, should be slightly magical, almost slightly intriguing,” says Landini, who still recalls the extremely small boutique in Kings Road, in Chelsea, London, operated by British designer Antony Price in the late 1970s.

“Antony used to design all of Brian Ferry’s stage outfits, as well as those for other leading musicians. Unlike the flashy clothes, the actual store fit-out was reduced to the minimum,” says Landini.

“You couldn’t see into it from the street and when you went in, there was just a couple of catalogues on the counter showing his sketches, accompanied by fabric swatches,” he adds.

As with Price’s store that attracted a brave and loyal clientele, the Sarah & Sebastian store offers a sense of intrigue with, as Landini says, ‘a dose of inspiration’.

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“It’s a small store so the idea isn’t to have people fill it.

It’s about serving those who appreciate what’s on offer and want to spend time looking at the jewellery,” says Landini, who was also keen to create a store that stood apart from its neighbours.

It is also slightly hard-edged (unusual for Mosman) and on the radar of those who don’t necessarily see themselves following the pack.

“Like the jewellery, the store has a sense of confidence,” he adds.

For Landini Associates to have received 22 retail awards from the American Retail Design Institute for a number of stores designed in the United States, China, Asia and Europe is also testimony to the adage that it’s not always size that matters.

“Retail design is about creating an experience, irrespective of what’s on offer,” says Landini.

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Business

David Jones sells Bourke Street store to Newmark for $121m


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The group’s two city stores are estimated to be worth a combined $1 billion, although market insiders say Australia’s entrenched bricks and mortar retailing downturn is likely to affect their end value.

Woolworths South Africa also owns the Country Road business.

Newmark is no stranger to retail property. It is the owner of the popular Jam Factory complex in South Yarra and multiple other shopping-focused assets through its individual unlisted property funds.

Newmark co-founder Chris Langford said David Jones’ Bourke Street store was “great real estate.”

“We’re looking at office and retail. It’s a great location and it’s a really nice space. It will be like a loft-style office,” said Mr Longford, who co-founded the fund manager with Simon T Morris.

Newmark’s most recent acquisitions include a new large-format retail centre anchored by Bunnings and Kmart under development in Warragul in regional Victoria that it purchased for $51 million and the Tooronga Village Shopping Centre in Melbourne’s east that it acquired for its investors from Stockland in mid-2019 for $62 million.

CBRE’s Simon Rooney negotiated the sale alongside David Jones’ transaction manager JACX Property.

Mr Rooney said 15 bids were received for the menswear store from a mix of domestic and offshore investors, high net worth individuals, developers and syndicate investors.

The deal comes amid news another Melbourne-based group, Vantage Property Investments, is in talks to scoop up the struggling St Collins Lane shopping mall in Collins Street for less than $120 million.

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If a deal is finalised at that level, it will be at a significant discount to the property’s previous price when it was purchased by JP Morgan Asset Management in 2016 for $247 million on a 5 per cent yield.

Several industry sources said Vantage was in talks to buy St Collins Lane on behalf of investment bank Credit Suisse Asset Management.

Vantage, run by directors Hamish de Crespigny and Matt Spring, did not respond to calls for comment. Credit Suisse declined to comment.

JP Morgan recently spent $35 million refurbishing St Collins Lane and changed its name from its outdated moniker, Australia on Collins.

But despite the upgrade, the revamped shopping centre at 260 Collins, between Elizabeth and Swanston streets, has struggled to find tenants and strike a chord with shoppers.

Long before the coronavirus pandemic caused havoc among the city’s retailers, the mall’s upper levels were riddled with vacant spaces, although the ground floor, which connects through to Little Collins Street, has generally been successful with retailers.

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Business

Maccas launches flagship sustainable store in Melton


Maccas has already announced plans to phase out plastic cutlery.

Pre-COVID price

An owner-occupier in the IT hardware sector has splashed out $10 million on a major office-warehouse in Maribyrnong.

2-4 Mephan Street.

2-4 Mephan Street.Credit:

The deal for 2-4 Mephan Street was struck at the pre-Covid asking price, which indicates that some types of property are proving themselves more useful in the new era.

CBRE agents Bryce Pane and Harry Kalaitzis negotiated the transaction with Glyn Bosisto and Tom Davis from Bosisto Commercial.

Mr Bosisto said: “The rapidly changing retail environment under Covid-19 is accelerating the transition of many major online retailers towards large centralised click-and-collect bricks and mortar platforms in favour of the traditional retail model.”

The 8364 sq m office is on a 14,900 sq m site that was previously occupied by foam fabricating business RMAX on a lease that ends this month.

“This competitive sale campaign highlights that, despite the pandemic, there is strong demand from industrial owner occupiers and developers for prime infill assets on significant land holdings,” Mr Pane said.

Don Camillo’s

One of the city’s oldest cafes, Don Camillo’s, has quietly closed down during the pandemic lockdown and is now for sale.

The Lanteri family established Don Camillo’s in 1955 with a new-fangled espresso machine.

The Lanteri family established Don Camillo’s in 1955 with a new-fangled espresso machine.Credit:Italian Historical Society

The Lanteri family established Don Camillo’s in 1955, living upstairs and serving up pasta and coffee from one of those new-fangled espresso machines.

It recently underwent a $200,000 upgrade with expectations that the business operator, martial arts maven Sam Greco, would exercise his ten year option. But Covid restrictions appear to have delivered a death knell.

While the cafe at 215 Victoria Street cafe lost some of its old world charm in the make-over, it still has its terrazzo floor.

Killen Thomas agent John Camilleri is handling the sale of the 200 sq m building and is expecting more than $1.8 million.

Rocco’s hold on

Meanwhile, the Bufalo family which has owned and operated Rocco’s Hand Made Shoes in Malvern, for more than 40 years, has withdrawn the property from sale.

At the last minute, the family decided to hold on to the property.

At the last minute, the family decided to hold on to the property.Credit:

Barry Plant Commercial agents Benjamin Klein and Dean Sirianni originally had the 278 sq m shop slated for auction on July 17, quoting between $1.35-1.4 million.

The auction was then converted to an expressions of interest campaign. Six bids of around $1.5 million were received, Mr Klein said.

But at the last minute, the family decided to hold on to the property at 41-43 Station Street, which they have owned since 1986. Selling was too big a wrench for Rocco Bufalo.

Monolith sells

Monolith Developments is selling off a 2512 sq m site in Wantirna South opposite Knox Shopping Centre.

The former drive through restaurant at 500 Burwood Highway forms the front of a larger 5568 sq m site Monolith bought for more than $11 million in 2017.

The Chinese capital-backed developer has almost completed a town house project at the rear of the site.

JLL agents MingXuan Li and Steve Kelly are handling expressions of interest in the property which has a permit for an eight-storey mixed use project.

The property is expected to fetch more than $6.8 million. The campaign closes on August 13.

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Australian News

Adelaide Target joins long list of store closures


Target is shutting its doors at another one of its sites, adding to the long list of closures announced earlier in the year.

The store in Adelaide’s western suburb Fulham Gardens will shut next month, according to reports from The Advertiser, making way for a Woolworths, Dan Murphy’s and a variety store.

The Tapleys Hill Rd retail strip will undergo a “major redevelopment”, property manager Theo Kaldis told the local publication.

The development comes after Target’s parent company, Wesfarmers, announced in May that up to 167 of the discount department stores could disappear.

RELATED: Target closes 167 stores in massive restructure

Under the drastic plan, up to 75 Target stores will be closed down while 92 will be converted into Kmart outlets, meaning around half of Target’s 284-odd Australian stores could be affected.

The shock announcement regarding the struggling discount department store chain was made by Wesfarmers, which owns both Target and Kmart

It also revealed $780 million of writedowns on its Kmart Group and industrial and safety branch, and a number of plans designed to “accelerate the growth of Kmart” and “address the unsustainable financial performance of Target”.

They include converting “suitable” Target and Target Country stores to Kmart stores, the closure of between 10 to 25 large format Target stores, the closure of the remaining 50 small format Target Country stores, and a “significant restructuring of the Target store support office”.

Wesfarmers managing director Rob Scott said the changes would “enhance the overall position of the Kmart Group, while also improving the commercial viability of Target”.

“For some time now, the retail sector has seen significant structural change and disruption, and we expect this trend to continue.

“With the exception of Target, Wesfarmers’ retail businesses are well-positioned to respond to the changes in consumer behaviour and competition associated with this disruption,” Mr Scott said.

WHICH STORES ARE CLOSING?

In May, Target confirmed 53 store closures across all states and territories except the Northern Territory.

They include:

NSW:

• Armidale, early-mid 2021

• Campbelltown, July 2020

• Cooma, early-mid 2021

• Cootamundra, early-mid 2021

• Corowa, early-mid 2021

• Deniliquin, early-mid 2021

• Forbes, early-mid 2021

• Leeton, early 2021

• Merimbula, early-mid 2021

• Morisset, early-mid 2021

• Narrabri, early-mid 2021

• Nowra, early-mid 2021

• Salamander Bay, early-mid 2021

• Scone, early-mid 2021

• Wagga Wagga, early-mid 2021

• Winmalee, early-mid 2021

QLD:

• Atherton, early 2021

• Beaudesert, early-mid 2021

• Biloela, early 2021

• Casino Retail Centre, early-mid 2021

• Clifton Beach, early-mid 2021

• Emerald, early-mid 2021

• Goonellabah, early 2021

• Kippa Ring, early 2021

• Longreach, early-mid 2021

• Moranbah, early-mid 2021

• Murgon, early-mid 2021

• Murwillumbah, early 2021

VICTORIA:

• Bacchus Marsh, early-mid 2021

• Bairnsdale, early-mid 2021

• Benalla, mid 2021

• Colac, early-mid 2021

• Kerang, early-mid 2021

• Langwarrin, early-mid 2021

• Maryborough, early-mid 2021

• Myrtleford, early-mid 2021

• Traralgon, early-mid 2021

• Warragul, early-mid 2021

WA:

• Busselton, early 2021

• Karratha, early-mid 2021

• Kununurra, early-mid 2021

• Manjimup, early-mid 2021

• Margaret River, early-mid 2021

• Meadow Springs, August 2020

• Merredin, early-mid 2021

• Narrogin, early-mid 2021

SA

• Clare, early-mid 2021

• Millicent, early 2021

• Naracoorte, early-mid 2021

• Pasadena, June 2020

• Port Lincoln, early 2021

TASMANIA:

• Devonport, early-mid 2021

ACT:

• Weston Creek, early-mid 2021

WHICH STORES WILL BECOME KMARTS?

Again, most states and territories are affected except the ACT and Tasmania.

VICTORIA:

• Ararat, early-mid 2021

• Castlemaine, September 2020

• Cobram, July 2020

• Echuca, July 2020

• Hamilton, early 2021

• Kyabram, September 2020

• Lakes Entrance, early 2021

• Leongatha, early 2021

• Mansfield, early 2021

• Portland, early 2021

• Seymour, early 2021

• Woodend, September 2020

• Yarrawonga, early 2021

QLD:

• Ayr, early-mid 2021

• Beerwah, early-mid 2021

• Bowen, early 2021

• Charters Towers, early 2021

• Chinchilla, early 2021

• Dalby, early 2021

• Gatton, early 2021

• Goondiwindi, early 2021

• Gympie, early 2021

• Ingham, early 2021

• Mareeba, early 2021

• Noosa Junction, early 2021

• Ocean Shores Village Ctr, early 2021

• Port Douglas, early 2021

• Roma, early 2021

• Sarina, early 2021

• Stanthorpe, early 2021

• Warwick, early 2021

• Yamba, early 2021

• Yeppoon, early 2021

NSW:

• Bega, early-mid 2021

• Bowral, early 2021

• Gunnedah, early 2021

• Katoomba, early 2021

• Moree, early 2021

• Mudgee, early 2021

• Picton, early 2021

• Tumut, early 2021

• Ulladulla, early 2021

• Windsor Town S/C, early 2021

• Yass, early 2021

SA:

• Berri, early 2021

• Murray Bridge, early 2021

• Port Augusta, early 2021

• Victor Harbor, early 2021

WA:

• Esperance, early 2021

• Geraldton, early-mid 2021

• Northam, early 2021

• Pinjarra, early 2021

NT:

• Katherine, early 2021



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Local News - Victoria

Police cars rammed during dramatic arrest of men wanted over luxury store burglaries


Police said the pair’s apprehension followed an investigation into a series of commercial burglaries on luxury goods stores including Miss Louise on Collins Street on May 26.

The men have also been arrested in relation to five other incidents from earlier on Thursday where items were stolen from a luxury goods store in Southbank, a tool store in Thomastown, a pharmacy in Ivanhoe, a sports store in Kew and a fast-food restaurant in Prahran.

A police spokeswoman said at the time of their arrest, the two men, one a 30-year-old from Northcote and the other a 56-year-old from Carlton, rammed two police cars in an attempt to flee.

Thousands of dollars worth of designer women’s goods, including high-end shoes and bags, were stolen after a car smashed through the window of the Miss Louise boutique in the CBD on May 26.

Melbourne CBD boutique store Miss Louise had thousands of dollars' worth of designer goods stolen after a car smashed through its shopfront window in a daylight burglary.

Melbourne CBD boutique store Miss Louise had thousands of dollars’ worth of designer goods stolen after a car smashed through its shopfront window in a daylight burglary.Credit:Nine News

At the time police said a ute was used to smash through the window before two men fled the scene with stolen goods, about 7.20am.

Jennifer Cooper, who witnessed the duo’s eventual arrest on Thursday labelled it a “brilliant tactical success” by police.

“A planned coordinated box in of a large white ute which rammed three cars and filled the air with burnt rubber,” she tweeted.

A police spokeswoman said the men are expected to be charged with burglary, theft, theft of motor vehicle, criminal damage, dangerous driving whilst being pursued by police and intentionally exposing an emergency worker to risk by driving.



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Business

Newmark Capital tipped as buyer of $120m David Jones store


Newmark is no stranger to retail property as the owner of the popular Jam Factory complex in South Yarra and multiple other assets through its individual unlisted property funds.

‘It’s cracking real estate is all that I can say.’

Newmark co-founder Chris Langford

The menswear store is on the south side of the mall, opposite David Jones’ main emporium next to Myer. Its sale comes as Woolworths South Africa appoints investment bank UBS to undertake strategic review of the ownership structure of the two remaining David Jones flagship stores in Melbourne and Sydney’s Elizabeth Street, estimated to be worth a combined $1 billion.

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The review will investigate an outright sale of one or both of the assets, or a partial sell-down in both properties to a trust format. David Jones would remain the tenant in a lease-back scheme. David Jones bought its city properties from Deutsche Bank in 2006.

David Jones has undertaken significant upgrades at its Elizabeth Street store, with the addition of a new shoe emporium and upmarket cosmetic floors and has moved its famous food hall into the basement.

In Melbourne, the flagship Bourke Street Mall store has been steadily upgraded and now includes many of the world’s most sought-after brands.

To help fund the upgrades, David Jones sold its Sydney’s menswear store at 77 Market Street in 2016 for $360 million to Westfield mall owner and manager, Scentre group and Cbus Property, which are planning a mixed development of upmarket retail, an office component and apartments.

Luxury brand Chanel is said to be leasing the ground floor corner of Pitt and Market Streets as the anchor for the new retail floors.

Scentre has been tipped as a potential buyer of the adjoining David Jones Elizabeth Street site should it be offered as a full sale.

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To help reduce its debt, David Jones is also looking to reduce its footprint across its current store portfolio with a planned 20 per cent drop in space by 2026.

Its peer Myer has been doing the same amid falling sales, while Wesfarmers’ the owner of Target will close down 10-25 full-line stores and 50 country stores. Major retailers are also negotiating with landlords to pay rent on sales turnover rather than the traditional per square metre basis.

Myer and David Jones are the still the largest tenants in most shopping centres, despite some floor space shrinkage, and have been in discussions with landlords to change the way they pay rent.

Woolworths Holdings’ Roy Bagattini said the tough and unprecedented trading conditions have dramatically impacted performance across the retail sector globally.

“We remain focussed on the implementation of the strategic initiatives that will address the current and emerging needs of all our stakeholders. By doing this we will position the business well for long-term future growth and success,” Mr Bagattini said.

Macquarie Equities’ analysts Stuart McLean and Darren Leung said David Jones and the Country Road group are looking to rationalise footprints which will hit shopping centre landlords, which are already under pressure from flagging consumer sentiment and the impact of the coronavirus.

“With similar programs from Myer and Big W, backfill remains difficult. We remain cautious on the outlook for retail landlords,” the analysts said.

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Kmart shoppers transformed the once ‘daggy’ store into a powerhouse dominating the retail market


A large and passionate community of Australian mums and amateur interior decorators have together transformed Kmart’s reputation from ‘daggy’ bargain bin to modish and ‘on-trend’. 

Through the use of perfectly styled Instagram photos, viral ‘hacks’, cooking tricks and fan pages of more than 300,000 people, the ‘Kmart mums’ have made the ‘luxe for less’ model more desirable than ever – and left Target’s more ‘upmarket’ brand revamp less appealing in the eyes of many shoppers.

This was clear on Friday morning, when Target announced the closure of 75 of its stores and the conversion of 92 others into Kmarts after a $67 million sales slump. 

Wesfarmers, who owns both retailers, unveiled its plans to restructure Target’s ‘unsustainable’ cost base and allow focus on the more-profitable Kmart, which over the past five years has become the most successful low-end department store in Australia.    

Interior stylist Amanda Bray, 33, (pictured) from Ballarat, Victoria, said she believes the power of social media has played a 'big part in Kmart's success' and regularly posts snaps of her Kmart styling on her successful Instagram account

Interior stylist Amanda Bray, 33, (pictured) from Ballarat, Victoria, said she believes the power of social media has played a ‘big part in Kmart’s success’ and regularly posts snaps of her Kmart styling on her successful Instagram account 

Much of Kmart's success can be attributed to a large and dedicated community of online mums and amateur interior decorators who together have transformed the brand's reputation from 'daggy' bargain bin to 'modish' and on-trend

Much of Kmart’s success can be attributed to a large and dedicated community of online mums and amateur interior decorators who together have transformed the brand’s reputation from ‘daggy’ bargain bin to ‘modish’ and on-trend 

The kitchen: Amanda renovated her entire home using budget décor from Kmart, including the chopping board, mirror tray, glass canister and faux plant and pot

The popular groups making Kmart ‘cool’ 

FACEBOOK 

Kmart Mums Australia: 373,000 members

Kmart Hacks & Décor: 366,000 members

Kmart Inspired Homes: 233,000 members

Kmart Air Fryer Recipes Australia: 252,000 members 

INSTAGRAM 

Kmart Bargains: 383,000 followers

I Heart Kmart: 123,000 followers 

The Kmart Lover: 119,000 followers 

Kmart Hack Queen: 89,900 followers

Kmart Queen: 85,000 followers 

Kmart by you: 74,000 followers

With more than 373,000 members, the Facebook group Kmart Mums Australia was launched in November 2015, founded by mother Larnie Lawrence and was one of the very first with a specific focus on sharing budget buys from the retailer. 

Ms Lawrence started talking about Kmart with her friends, and when she realised that others were as into the shop as she was, she started the group. 

‘The group was set up for women who wanted to share the new-in Kmart products they’d seen in different stores, as well as their styling tips and tricks,’ Ms Lawrence told FEMAIL in early 2017.

‘It’s grown a lot… so much so that if someone posts a new-in item on the group, you’ve got to be super quick in getting down to the store.’

Since its success, more than 5,000 dedicated Kmart groups and pages have launched on Facebook and Instagram where shoppers share renovation and interior advice, fashion picks, recipe and kitchen tips and cleaning tricks.

They include Kmart Inspired Homes (233,000 members), Kmart Air Fryer Recipes Australia (252,000 members) and Kmart Hacks & Décor (366,000 members).

The retail giant has become the most successful low-end department store across Australia, with social media groups credited for its rise to dominance over Target

The retail giant has become the most successful low-end department store across Australia, with social media groups credited for its rise to dominance over Target

Amanda is known for sharing snaps of her incredible home, featuring luxury items for less

Amanda, a mother-of-three, styles her home using budget items from Kmart, including the rug, and a woven basket to store cushions

Amanda, a mother-of-three, styles her home using budget items from Kmart, including the rug, and a woven basket to store cushions

The founder of Kmart Hack Queen restyled her laundry room using Kmart's glass canisters, jars with lids and décor items such as the plant stand

The founder of Kmart Hack Queen restyled her laundry room using Kmart’s glass canisters, jars with lids and décor items such as the plant stand

Interior stylist Amanda Bray, 33, from Ballarat, Victoria, said she believes the power of social media has played a ‘big part in Kmart’s success’ and has seen a huge following thanks to her Kmart styling advice on Instagram. 

Target is too pricey and some basic items like a cushion is $30 compared to Kmart’s $12 version. I don’t shop at Target because of their style and most of all I have a budget

– Samantha, Kmart Hack Queen  

‘The biggest thing people say to me is that they see an item but have no idea how to style it,’ Ms Bray, a mother-of-three, told FEMAIL.

‘Then they log onto Facebook and Instagram and see the products styled it makes the items more appealing.’ 

Mother-of-four Tina Devlin, from Perth, agrees, with her own styling page seeing a similar spike after she started sharing budget styling and decor advice. 

‘I think it’s definitely helped Kmart become so popular,’ Tina, 33, told FEMAIL.

‘There’s so many great ideas on how to style things and great hack ideas. It definitely makes people want what they see when it’s styled so beautifully.’ 

Mother-of-four Tina Devlin (pictured) said there's now so many Instagram pages showing how everyone styles their items in their own home

Mother-of-four Tina Devlin (pictured) said there’s now so many Instagram pages showing how everyone styles their items in their own home

In recent years, the retailer has gone from a 'daggy' discount store to such a 'cool' place to shop for all the on-trend everyday items

In recent years, the retailer has gone from a ‘daggy’ discount store to such a ‘cool’ place to shop for all the on-trend everyday items

Mother of two Samantha (pictured), who runs Kmart Hack Queen, said she uses her platform to show how she styles the budget items to make them appear lush in her home

Mother of two Samantha (pictured), who runs Kmart Hack Queen, said she uses her platform to show how she styles the budget items to make them appear lush in her home

The Kmart Hack Queen said her followers are obsessed with her super organised pantry

The Kmart Hack Queen said her followers are obsessed with her super organised pantry

Mother of two Samantha, who runs Kmart Hack Queen on Instagram with nearly 90,000 followers, said she uses her platform to show how she styles the budget items to make them appear lush in her home.

‘I get messages every day of people loving my ideas. They said they now love Kmart because I inspire them by using their items. They didn’t know Kmart was so stylish,’ she told FEMAIL.

From personal experience as a mum of three, I do not want to spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on homewares and furniture that has the possibility of being broken, so Kmart gives us an affordable range of homewares that look great 

– Amanda, Amanda Bray Interiors

Amanda explained how Kmart has really ‘upped their game in the past few years’ – and interest started to really peak in Australia when the retailer revamped its brand. 

‘The quality of their clothing and homewares for such an affordable price is amazing,’ she said. 

‘I believe it really peaked when they revamped their homewares sector a few years ago. There are so many people especially ones with children who are after affordable homewares to decorate their home. 

‘I know from personal experience as a mum of three that I do not want to spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on homewares and furniture that has the possibility of being broken, so Kmart gives us an affordable range of homewares that look great.’

Steph Pase, who blogs under Just Another Mummy Blog, has earned a legion of fans for sharing stunning pictures of her home using budget items from retailers such as Kmart

Steph Pase, who blogs under Just Another Mummy Blog, has earned a legion of fans for sharing stunning pictures of her home using budget items from retailers such as Kmart

Thousands of mothers have been transforming every space of their home using budget items

Thousands of mothers have been transforming every space of their home using budget items

The founder of Kmart Hack Queen said the retailer has pulled out all stops to regularly bring out luxury-inspired items for less

The founder of Kmart Hack Queen said the retailer has pulled out all stops to regularly bring out luxury-inspired items for less

The dining room was brought to life by Amanda’s Kmart buys, including a faux plant and décor

Target announces closure of 167 outlets in massive restructure 

Target has made a shock announcement it will shut 75 of its stores, and convert 92 others into Kmart.

Following a financial review, the company revealed plans to drastically restructure as the brand suffered a $67 million sales slump. 

Announcing to investors on Friday, owner Wesfarmers said the restructure would reduce Target’s ‘unsustainable’ cost base and allow it focus on the more-profitable Kmart.

Target staff will be offered jobs at Kmart or other Wesfarmers companies, including Bunnings and Officeworks. 

Samantha said the retailer has pulled out all stops to regularly bring out luxury-inspired items for less.

‘I think Kmart is not classed as daggy anymore because they have really thought about how to improve their business,’ she said. 

‘They really looked into the styles of homeware and apparel from all around the world and brought these ideas into their stores to make their styles stand out from the rest.

‘Their styles in homewares became very modern in 2016. I remember all the contemporary colours coming out with greys and pinks. Not long after, the Scandinavian styles. They have done extremely well. It’s my favourite place to shop.’

Tina said most people don’t want to spend big money decorating their homes and Target was deemed more upmarket by many shoppers.

‘Kmart being so affordable gives people the option to keep up with new trends,’ she said.  

‘I think Kmart is more popular than Target because of how often they bring in new items and such great prices for people to style and decorate their homes on a budget.

‘It gives you the option to change your look more often than you would usually and definitely has more exposure in the Instagram world. I started getting into the Kmart trend in 2015, since then they keep improving their products as it’s become so popular.’ 

Australian fashion bloggers are always raving about Kmart's dresses that looks considerably more expensive than its affordable price tag (picture of affordable style influencer Paige Kennedy wearing a $28 Kmart versatile polkadot dress)

Australian fashion bloggers are always raving about Kmart’s dresses that looks considerably more expensive than its affordable price tag (picture of affordable style influencer Paige Kennedy wearing a $28 Kmart versatile polkadot dress)

Affordable stylist Tina Abeysekara (pictured wearing an $18 Kmart skirt) have earned a legion of followers on Instagram for proving style doesn't always have to cost serious cash

Affordable stylist Tina Abeysekara (pictured wearing an $18 Kmart skirt) have earned a legion of followers on Instagram for proving style doesn’t always have to cost serious cash

Last year the Trash to Treasured founder also promoted a glamorous burnt orange polka dot Kmart dress priced at $25 (pictured above)

Last year the Trash to Treasured founder also promoted a glamorous burnt orange polka dot Kmart dress priced at $25 (pictured above)  

Samatha said she prefers Kmart over Target because there’s always a ‘great variety of products’ on a budget released regularly.

‘I love their homeware items because each drop they do you can still refresh your space, adding onto previous Kmart products you already own,’ she said.

‘There’s many style incorporated like bohemian, modern, industrial and urban. I think Target has it a little wrong, they seem to do items that are same old, same old like mainly rustic, wicker, and more on the safe side. 

‘Target is too pricey and some basic items like a cushion is $30 compared to Kmart’s $12 version. I don’t shop at Target because of their style and most of all, I have a budget.’

Amanda agreed with the low prices, saying: ‘It’s the main reason I feel people are more drawn to Kmart rather than Target.’

In the fashion aisle, affordable stylists such as Trash to Treasured founder Tina Abeysekara and Paige Kennedy have earned a legion of followers on Instagram for proving style doesn’t always have to cost serious cash.

The pair are known for sharing latest budget-friendly items from Kmart, including a $27 linen blazer, $28 versatile dress, and $18 leopard print skirt. 





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Driver re-arrested after 14 injured by car smashing into clothing store


The man behind the wheel of a car that sped into a shop in Sydney’s west yesterday has been re-arrested.

The 51-year-old was taken to hospital in handcuffs after his Mitsubishi SUV crashed into a clothing store in Greenacre just after 3pm yesterday.

Fourteen people were injured in the crash, including 10 who were taken to hospital.

All but one of the injured pedestrians have been discharged from hospital following the crash on Thursday night at Greenacre. (Nine News)
A crime scene was established after 12 people were injured in the Greenacre incident. (9News)

A 13-year-old girl remains in hospital in a stable condition with non-life-threatening injuries.

The driver was taken to Bankstown Police Station for questioning but released later the same day.

Following further inquiries by police, investigators re-arrested him at a home on Wangee Road in Greenacre about 1pm today.

He has again been taken to Bankstown Police Station, where he is expected to be charged.

Hijab House Greenacre split
Dozens of emergency crew rushed to the scene of the crash, on the corner of Juno Parade and Waterloo Road in Greenacre. (Supplied)

The owner of Hijab House said he first heard about the incident on social media and immediately thought the worst.

“I thought initially that somebody was killed because of the scenes I saw online,” Tarik Houcher told 9News.

“We had staff members behind that counter, we had two staff members as well as customers in front of it so to me it was a miracle people survived, let along escaped with no scratches.”

Mr Houcher said the shop had been targeted many times in the past, and he hoped this latest incident was simply an accident.

“Obviously with Hijab House we’ve been the victims of many racially motivated attacks in the past, we’ve dealt with this many time, being such a visible Islamic brand, so one can never really let go of any doubt,” he said.

His sister, who works in the store, is one of those injured and recovering in hospital.

“I know that every time there’s a loud sound my sister is reacting quite strongly to it and so we have to just make sure that she’s looked after and that we get through this,” Mr Houcher said.



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Wood Ants Store Short- And Long-Term Memories on Different Sides of Their Brains


We like to think the human brain is special and superior, but even the smallest brains on Earth occasionally show remarkable similarities to our own.

When wood ants (Formica rufa) store visual memories in their brains, new research suggests they break the rules of symmetry: One side of the tiny critter’s brain appears to store short-term memories, while the other holds on to them for longer.

 

This is known as neural lateralisation, and it appears to be closely tied to the formation of memories in animals. In human brains, for instance, spatial memory and musical processing is mainly confined to the right side, while language is mostly on the left side, although there is lots of communication and crossover.

Perhaps the same is true of the lowly ant.

“To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of lateralised visual memory formation in an insect,” the authors write, “with broad implications for our understanding of visual memories in insects and the evolution of lateralisation in memory formation.”

Once upon a time, scientists actually thought we were the only species carrying around two distinct hemispheres upstairs, each specialised for various functions and behaviours.

Now, of course, we know a whole better. Asymmetry of brain function is widespread amongst vertebrates, and it’s probably been there for some time now, emerging very early on in their evolution.

And that might go for invertebrates, too. Recent research on social bees and their memories of scent suggests these creatures are allocating functions to the left or right side. While most research thus far has focused on the scent memory of bees, it’s been unclear whether this lateralisation exists across other types of memory and in other insect species.

 

Using wood ants – an insect famous for visual navigation – researchers carried out a classic conditioning experiment. When shown a blue object, the ants were allowed to touch a droplet of sugar with either their right or left antenna before tasting it.

Like Pavlov’s salivating dog, these critters were trained to respond to the visual cue, and this association was then tested after 10 minutes, an hour, and a day later. If the ants extended their mouths at the sight of the blue object, this was deemed a sign of thirst.

In the end, when ants were trained with just the right antenna, they demonstrated thirst at 10 minutes with a gradually weakening effect as time went on.

On the other hand, ants trained with just the left antenna showed no response at 10 minutes or even an hour. A day later, however, they showed strong signs of thirst.

“We show that a brief contact between a sugar reward and either the right or left antenna is sufficient to produce a lateralised memory, even though the visual cue is visible to both eyes throughout training and testing,” the authors write.

 

“Reinforcement given to the right antenna induced short-term memories, whereas reinforcement given to the left antenna induced long-term memories.”

If they’re right, and these different types of memory are indeed stored on different sides of the ant’s brain, it suggests memory lateralisation may have evolved multiple times in the distant past.

There’s a theory it may even arise in creatures that are more social, although this is still being fiercely debated.

Research on olfactory memory and lateralisation in social bees, however, does suggest something oddly similar. Stronger memories appear to form when the right antenna is used, while long-term memories are formed in response to inputs from the bee’s left antennae.

There seems to be a pattern here and it’s worth exploring further, if only to figure out why asymmetrical brains like our own seem to be so advantageous.

Without knowing more about insect lineages, it’s hard to say whether memory lateralisation has evolved independently in ants and social bees, or if it was present in a common ancestor but lost in solitary bees.

Having two distinct hemispheres might reduce conflicting information or help rid the brain of some redundancy, which may be especially important for smaller noggins that need to save energy and space.

It’s also possible that retaining long-term memories on one side allows room for new short-term memories to form; there’s a lot more here that scientists are yet to discover.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

 



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Myer delays store reopenings until May 11


The decision means the department store will miss out on the key Mother’s Day trading period, a major sales driver in the retail calendar. Mother’s Day is on Sunday, May 10.

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Chief executive John King said the decision to extend the temporary closures was “extremely tough”, yet essential to ensure both staff and customers remained safe.

“It is reflective of our continuing focus on operating our business in a manner that protects the health and wellbeing of customers and team members, whilst supporting the government efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 through stay-at-home directions and other social distancing measures,” he said.

“Our plans for reopening our physical stores are well advanced and we look forward to welcoming customers back into stores, when it is safe to do so.”

A prolonged closure period will be especially damaging for Myer, which was suffering from weak sales growth and onerous rental agreements prior to the coronavirus crisis.

Shareholders and commentators have predicted Myer could use the lockdown to expedite the shut down of a number of underperforming stores, with veteran stockpicker Geoff Wilson saying it would “make sense” for the retailer to take the opportunity to shrink its footprint.

Myer made no allusions to permanent closures in its statement on Wednesday, saying only that stores may reopen on a “staged basis” due to different restrictions and regulations across the states.

Discussions with landlords and suppliers were “ongoing”, though retailers across the country may soon be better placed to negotiate with landlords following the ACCC’s approval of an interim authorisation to allow merchants to collectively negotiate with landlords.

Members of the Australian Retailers Association will be permitted to share information about landlords, including details on what information they are seeking in order to provide rent relief.

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“We see a clear public benefit in allowing retailers to work together in the negotiations with landlords as it will help those tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during this pandemic to reach a fair outcome,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

Myer has been able to rehire 2000 staff to pick online orders, which shot up 800 per cent over the Easter weekend. However, Myer has applied for the government’s JobKeeper subsidy as the majority of staff will remain stood down.

“Above all else, we take this opportunity to thank our customers and team members for their continued support and loyalty to Myer during this challenging period.”

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed a 10 per cent drop in department store spending through March, though overall retail sales saw their biggest one-month surge on record.

Myer shares jumped 5.6 per cent to 19¢ on Wednesday, though the company’s share price is down more than 60 per cent since the beginning of the year.

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