The Accent Group opens first shoe store for kids

Ten months after initially launching the pure-play kids’ footwear offering The Trybe, Accent Group has decided to push the concept into bricks-and-mortar with a four-store trial spread across Victoria and New South Wales. 

The stores feature brands such as Adidas, Converse, Nike, Puma, Skechers and Timberland, but in sizes to fit kids, from babies to pre-teens.

“What we wanted to do was to come up with a concept that was more refreshed compared to what we were seeing in the market,” Accent Group chief executive Daniel Agostinelli told Inside Retail Weekly

“We felt that, given that we distribute our own brands, that we could have a larger offer than most people in mainly fashion kids’ footwear.

“Our motto is that The Trybe needs to become the home of the best international footwear brands in Australia and New Zealand – that’s where we are pitching.”

Catering kids and parents

The new stores have been tailored to suit both young and adult shoppers, with a children’s play area at the back to entertain the kids while parents can focus on browsing. Each store will also offer interactive digital screens, as well as age-specific merchandising.

The first of the four stores, near the kids’ precinct of Highpoint Shopping Centre in Maribyrnong, Victoria, opened on July 19, while the second in Fountain Gate, in Narre Warren, Victoria in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne, opened last Wednesday. 

The remaining two are set to open in Pacific Werribee, 30kms southwest of Melbourne, and Macarthur Square, in Campbelltown, Sydney, in July, and will serve as a trial for the bricks-and-mortar side of the business until early 2020. 

“We felt that we wanted to trial four stores in centres where we felt they would work. If the return on equity is where it needs to be, our plan is that we want to open more of them,” Agostinelli said. 

“That will be determined by the performance of these stores right up until the end of December and the back-to-school period being January. 

“At that point, we will decide if the model is a national rollout or not.”

Accent Group came up with the initial concept for The Trybe when it first realised there was a gap in the market. Parents were demanding a new kids’ footwear destination, said Agostinelli, so Accent Group had to ensure the concept was creative, engaging and could stand the test of time. 

To this point, however, Accent Group hasn’t put much investment behind The Trybe – preferring to let it grow organically through word of mouth. 

“Really, we had no marketing towards it and we started to get a bit of a following. Sales were okay, [considering we] haven’t really invested anything into marketing,” Agostinelli said. 

“We thought it was time for us to expand that into a bricks-and-mortar format – essentially, we want to open up where there are like-minded retailers close by, so we can actually strengthen the overall fashion offer for mums that want to buy their kids the latest and greatest.”

However, the sudden focus on bricks-and-mortar isn’t going to take away from the brand’s online roots, said Agostinelli, confirming that Accent Group has plans to invest marketing into the e-commerce side of the business as well. 

“We’ve already got many of our wholesale partners or suppliers giving us stuff, providing us great product that can either go just online, or in-store or both,” Agostinelli said. 

“That’s the benefit of Accent Group – if we get it right, we’ve got enough structure to have a decent rollout with control.”


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