Caroline Eve buys CC Collections

Women's fashion chain Caroline Eve is adding its South Island counterpart CC Collections to its fold, creating a nationwide network of 41 stores in the fiercely competitive fashion sector.

Caroline Eve founder and owner Deborah Mundy said the acquisition of Invercargill-based CC Collections would create a company with a turnover of more than $20 million, making it one of the country's biggest privately owned fashion chains.

Both companies had a long association and similar merchandise, she said.

"Effectively it gives me a bigger company with more buying power and what that brings is the ability to transfer my costs over a larger number of stores and run a company that's more efficient."

Mundy said she and CC Collection's owner, Ross Dynes, had for many years been members of the same buyer's group which bought in bulk.

All the stores would remain open and all 220 staff would keep the jobs.

"That was one of the criteria in Ross selling. He wanted that for his staff," said Mundy.

Caroline Eve's target market is the "regular New Zealand woman" between 35 and 65 years. It competes with to Shanton and Postie Plus, two New Zealand retailers which have recently faltered in the tough retail market.

Mundy agreed Caroline Eve had been a survivor, operating a North Island network.

"Retail is extremely tough and fashion retail is tougher, as far as if you don't get the look right. But I do feel something that makes us a little bit different out there in the market is we are bringing service back to fashion retail.

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"We all work on different models and everyone has their little area. Ours is a fashionable product, great value, good quality for the money you're spending and good service in the fitting room." 

Meanwhile, another New Zealand-based clothing brand, Bing Harris, is closing its doors in New Zealand and Australia.

"Bing Harris is closing down so we can focus our attention on fuelling the massive growth in our Rodd & Gunn USA business," said Mike Beagley, Bing Harris' majority owner and the managing director of its sister brand, Rodd and Gunn.

It is not known at this point if any jobs will be lost.

According to trade website Retail News, Bing Harris has five stores in New Zealand and 16 in Australia. Its roots date back to 1858 when it was a general merchandise store in Dunedin, but in 2012 it was rebranded as a high quality fashion label.

 - Stuff

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