ABC to pull the plug on stores

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - CHAR­LIE PEEL char­lie. peel@ news. com. au

CA S T L E T O W N ’ S AB C Shop will be among the 50 stores to close na­tion­wide fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment the re­tailer would be mov­ing its trade online.

Up to 300 peo­ple will lose their jobs through­out the coun­try, while some will find em­ploy­ment in the re­struc­tured ABC Re­tail di­vi­sion.

The stores will be grad­u­ally phased out, but there is still hope for some of the 78 ABC Cen­tres, which are smaller mer­chan­dise out­lets within other re­tail­ers.

Among them is the ABC Cen­tre within the Mary Who? Book­store in the CBD.

ABC Re­tail an­nounced yesterday it would re­view lease ar­range­ments with land­lords and de­velop a re­vised re­tail model with a fo­cus on ABC Shop Online and ABC- branded out­lets in other re­tail­ers.

They cited a chang­ing re­tail en­vi­ron­ment – mainly con­sumer pref­er­ence for dig­i­tal con­tent and online sales – as the rea­sons be­hind the “new strat­egy”.

ABC Re­tail said the 69 staff em­ployed in Queens­land would be con­sulted over the com­ing months.

An ABC spokesman was un­able to com­ment on the ABC Shop in Castle­Town Shop­ping Cen­tre, but it is be­lieved there are up to five staff em­ployed there.

The shop has been in the cen­tre for al­most five years.

Vic­to­rian visi­tor Ann Crockett said she was a big fan of ABC Shops and would miss the ed­u­ca­tional games, books for kids, Bri­tish TV se­ries and mer­chan­dise she usu­ally buys in­store.

“It is a shame re­ally, I liked to do my Christ­mas shop­ping there,” she said.

Mary Who? Bookshop coowner Kerry McIl­roy said while they would prob­a­bly cease host­ing the ABC Cen­tre from next Fe­bru­ary, the shop would re­main open thanks to its boom­ing book trade.

“We have had the ABC Cen­tre for about 12 years, but it was scaled back when the full shop went to Castle­Town,” Ms McIl­roy said.

“But our busi­ness is strong; the books still sell and that com­prises a ma­jor­ity of our busi­ness.”

Ms McIl­roy said many cus­tomers were sad about the news that the ABC Shops would close down.

“All through the day we’ve had peo­ple con­cerned we are clos­ing,” she said. “We’ve been re­as­sur­ing them we are here to stay.”

It is a shame re­ally, I liked to do my Christ­mas shop­ping there.

ANN CROCKETT

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