Australian first for Converse

Cult shoe and apparel brand, Converse, has opened its first Australian store in Melbourne, with Sydney likely to be the recipient of its next flagship.

Cameron Lindley, brand manager for Converse Australia, told Inside Retail that while a second site isn’t confirmed yet, “Sydney is a no brainer for the next Australian store”.

The 170sqm Melbourne Central site follows the brand’s global specialty store design which was launched just a year ago at the first ever US site in Boston.

“Melbourne offers a dynamic community for us to connect with from a consumer perspective,” said Dave Powers, VP of Converse global retail.

“The Converse customer is very creative, so it was important to create a retail environment that encourages personal expression.”

Store highlights include a 3.2m by 5.2m American flag made from 272 pairs of red, white and blue Chuck Taylor All Star shoes, as well as a large wall highlighting this shoe style’s expansive collection.

Twenty per cent of floorspace is dedicated solely to footwear, with half of all store units in this category and half in apparel and accessories.

Converse has several hundred wholesale stockists in Australia through its licensee, Conquest Sports, including General Pants, Hype DC, Foot Locker, Platypus and Myer.

It produced its first ever shoe in Massachusetts back in 1908, with the company claiming to be one of the oldest pioneers of the sneaker and sporting goods industry.

Converse was bought out by rival, Nike, in 2003 for $305 million, and today it has more than 150 stockists around the world, from Nicaragua to Brunei.

The brand has strong links to the skate and entertainment industries, with past special edition shoes released featuring names like DC Comics, The Ramones, AC/DC, Jimi Hendrix, Metallica, Nirvana and even Dr. Seuss.

The Melbourne Central store will stock the brand’s new denim collection, as well as other shoe styles such as Jack Purcell, basketball, skateboarding and a collaboration with menswear designer John Varvatos.

“The varied product assortment will delight consumers looking for new and exclusive ways to engage with our brand,” said Ian Stewart, Converse director of marketing, Asia Pacific and China.

This article was originally published in Inside Retail’s weekly subscriber only edition. Click here for more information on this exclusive content.

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