Myer to open 8 new store this year

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Department store chain Myer is expanding with a swag of new stores planned to take advantage of consumers' revitalised interest in department stores.

In the past few years, poor offerings, constant discounting and a general decline in product lines have put pressure on the big-box anchor tenants in shopping centres.

Customer numbers also were hit by discount department stores and so-called leisure outlets such as dedicated bookstores, electrical and computer retailers and large chemists that are mini-department stores minus the clothing lines.

Myer plans to open a new store in Townsville in northern Queensland. It's the eighth new store to be announced this year by Myer, and part of a strategic plan by the retailer to increase its network to 75 stores nationally in the next three years.

That will take the chain to 75 stores across the country. Myer currently has 10 stores in Queensland, with another expected to open at North Lakes next year.

Myer said it was in talks about new stores at various other sites in Australia.

The Myer family recently bought the flagship Myer Bourke Street store and its Lonsdale Street building in Melbourne for $605 million, as part of a consortium led by CFS Retail Property Trust and GIC Real Estate.

As part of the deal, the buildings will undergo a $500 million redevelopment.

Myer, which is now run by private equity firm Texas Pacific, announced yesterday that it would establish its latest store in Stockland's new Townsville centre, which opens in 2009.

Stockland chief executive of retail John Schroder said the Townsville store was the first Myer outlet Stockland had developed and would be the anchor tenant in the rejuvenated centre, which had 120 specialty shops.

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