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Fashion group behind Katies, Rockmans, Noni B reveals massive expansion plans

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The fashion group behind well-known brands including Katies, Rockmans, Noni B and Rivers has revealed epic new expansion plans, launching itself internationally online and amassing major additions to its product range.

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Mosaic Brands chief executive Scott Evans gave investors a sneak peek of the plans at the group’s recent annual general meeting and provided extensive detail on Wednesday.

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Shareholders heard Mosaic, which also has Millers, Autograph, W. Lane, Crossroads, Beme and EziBuy in its stable, would in coming months propel itself into the US market, with Mr Evans saying it would be “a slow burn” sowing the seed for years to come.

He told NCA NewsWire it would be “completely digital”, with the UK also targeted and Noni B and Rockmans now available to American shoppers.

“Certainly during the 2022 calendar year, they’ll all be there,” he revealed.

Mosaic Brands CEO Scott Evans
Camera IconMosaic Brands chief executive Scott Evans says the group caters to age groups neglected by other retailers. John Feder/The Australian. Credit: News Corp Australia

“It’s big but it’s going to get momentum. We’re not going to take millions of dollars there on day one – it will be a two or three-year build.

“We’ll be on marketplaces, we’ll have our own website … we’re not opening shops there, we’re definitely not.

“To get going from a standing start will be really tough and that’s why we’re not shouting from the rooftops about it.

“What we’re saying is there’s a market there, we’ve got to find out how to sell to that market … it might be that we have to acquire a local business and then use it through that. I don’t know the answer yet but we’ve got great things that we can offer them.

“We’ve just got to find a way to get to them.”

Mosaic plans to double the number of categories sold to 60 over the next three years, offering products that customers currently purchase from others.

That strategy is already well under way, with its brands selling homewares now going “nuts”.

Even $1500 outdoor dining sets were selling fast, Mr Evans said.

“The more we put on, the better we do,” he said.

“So far this week, we’ve sold 5922 bed sheets.

“Last week we sold 10,000 hair straighteners.”

Mosaic Brands
Camera IconNoni-B is now available in the US online. NCA NewsWire / Steven Saphore Credit: News Corp Australia

Air fryers in particular were going “completely bonkers”.

“Four years ago we were selling tops and dresses, which we still sell and that’s our core business, but nearly 6000 bedsheets in two days? It’s just insane,” Mr Evans said.

“It will just keep growing. Limitless.”

Over the next three years, Mosaic plans to expand its store footprints at up to 300 locations to accommodate the greater variety.

Its first new concept Rivers mega outlet in Lismore, NSW should fling its doors open by March, offering major international brands such as Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Adidas, New Balance, ASICS, Puma and Levis – at low prices, of course – across a 1000sq m format.

Rivers has been selling some of those brands since fiscal 2020 and they have been snapped up by customers.

The group is overall transitioning to a big store strategy, saying “short lease tails” allow it to close stores where landlords have “pre-Covid rental expectations”.

Mosaic Brands last financial year closed 242 stores and a further 66 over the first four months of 2021-22.

Mr Evans says a further 50-100 may shut their doors.

Shoppers enter a Rivers store in Melbourne, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013. Specialty Fashion Group, owner of the Katies and Millers chain revealed today that it bought the 28-year-old Rivers chain for just  million. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) NO ARCHIVING
Camera IconThe first new concept Rivers mega outlet in Lismore, NSW should open by March. Julian Smith/AAP Credit: Supplied

“If you’ve got a landlord that can see the future and understand what online is doing, that those days are gone where rentals used to be X amount per square metre, if they look at what’s happening in today’s world, you can secure an economical deal,” he said.

“And the bigger the store, the better the performance.

“We’ll up the size of our stores when they come up for renewal.”

And while pursuing the online shopping boom is clearly the group’s focus, it hopes to open its first EziBuy bricks-and-mortar store around April.

“We can put a 600-700 square metre store of EziBuy into a shopping centre,” Mr Evans said.

“About 15 per cent of what you’ll see inside the store is what we offer, 85 per cent will be exclusive to online … which is not normal for Australia. That’ll be a first.

“Almost like showcase the best of what we have, or a selection available of what we have and the rest is available through the online channel.”

While EziBuy fills a 35-55 market gap, other brands in the group target 50 plus – a cashed up, e-commerce enabled age group neglected by other fashion retailers and “sort of invisible from a number of perspectives”, Mr Evans said.

“It’s an unloved generation. No one wants to go after the plus-50 market … everyone wants the new take on the new young fashion,” he said.

“That’s the opportunity in the market that we play in.”

Supplied Editorial ROCKMANS
Camera IconThe group has plenty of more upmarket brands in its stable. Credit: Supplied

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