Esprit to exit the Australian market, closing 67 outlets

Esprit to exit the Australian market, closing 67 outlets

American fashion retailer Esprit is set to exit the Australian and New Zealand market by the end of the year. 

After failing to turn around its loss-making operations, the retailer which is based in Germany and Hong Kong will close its 67 stores in the ANZ region.

The group, which has been operating in Australia since the 1980s, says it has been unprofitable in the region for a while and had to make the "unfortunate but unavoidable" decision to leave.

Esprit's ANZ operation consists of 16 retail stores, 13 factory outlets and 38 departments within Myer stores, all of which will be shut by the end of the year.

The outlets are split between 25 in NSW, 17 in Victoria, 12 in Queensland, six in Western Australia and New Zealand, and one in South Australia.

Thomas Tang, executive director of the Esprit group, says its Australian operations had been running at a loss for a number of years.

"In order to strength our foundation, the group intends to withdraw from these markets and this will allow us to concentrate efforts and resources to develop other markets in Asia," says Tang.

Despite recording $50 million in sales in the ANZ region last year, the sales only made up about 2 per cent of its global revenue.

Esprit is the latest in a string of international retailers folding in Australia, following in the footsteps of Gap who announced last year it was going to close all its Australian stores.

Department stores like Myer have also been struggling in the current retail environment, with investments in flagship brands going sour.

Local retailers like Oroton, Marcs, David Lawrence, and Pumpkin Patch have also all collapsed over the last two years.

The company says it is committed to fulfilling "all obligations" to its 350 ANZ employees.

"Our thanks to our highly committed, loyal and passionate employees, and to our customers who have supported the Esprit brand," says the retailer.

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