Dymocks will add 20+ new stores in three-year plan

By Sarah Stowe | 01 Jun 2021 View comments

Dymocks’ three-year plan will see the bookstore chain add another 20+ retail outlets to the network.

CEO Mark Newman told Inside Franchise Business Executive there will be a mix of suburban and regional locations in the new store plan which will spread the book chain further into the north of the country.

“We’re not in the Northern Territory and Queensland is under represented,” he said.

As part of the growth strategy Newman is currently recruiting for a dedicated franchise development manager and the brand will exhibit at the Melbourne and Brisbane Franchising & Business Opportunities Expos in August and October this year.

While retail has been tough in many categories through Covid, overall the book retail market has grown a significant 15 per cent over the last year, and Dymocks has had its share of this business boost.

“Regional and suburban has done very well, the CBD is improving,” said Newman.

He is focused on four elements to bring business to the retail chain:

  1. Growing the network from 50 to 75 stores.
  2. Harnessing omni-channel which is critical for the longevity of the brand and franchise partners.
  3. Store growth and profitability.
  4. A clear brand position around the tagline ‘Locally owned, nationally known’.

Dymocks’ omnichannel approach translates into an improved search function, a store map that’s easy to navigate, assisted self-checkout and online ordering in-store.

The strategy to boost profitability will focus on improving mark-ups on books, and increasing book-related products. Dymocks has developed its own range which includes booklights and bookmarks set to launch in August/September.

New merchandise must sit within clear fields of interest associated to the books in-store, Newman said.

“Cookbooks, health and gardening – it’s easy enough to imagine items in these categories. It’s about marketing so we have enough products to lift overall margins to ultimately deal with the fact that rent and staff costs go up each year. How we merchandise is vital.”

Newman has been in the hot seat for just over one year, joining the heritage firm after a string of high profile luxury brand appointments including Ralph Lauren.

The world of books is new for the UK native who is excited about the challenges of a different marketplace.

He brings some franchise experience to the role, as a franchisor with British brand Alfred Dunhill, and with Oroton.

“What’s important is to develop relationship with stakeholders so I visited distributors and suppliers. What is most important is to get to know the franchisees and understand their challenges.”

Arriving at his desk right at Australia’s Covid flash point, it took some time for Newman to fulfil his commitment to meet franchisees.

“I’ve now met all except two,” he revealed.