One of Australia’s oldest and best known bookselling chains is set for major expansion.  Dymocks, which was founded in Sydney in 1879, aims to open 25 stores in the next three years, taking its number of stores to 75.

It is part of a three-year plan outlined by CEO Mark Newman that will also include more book-related and non-book gift items which enjoy higher profit margins.  On store expansion Newman noted that the chain was under-represented in parts of the country like Queensland, while on stocking more gift items he told Inside Franchise Business Executive: “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.”

The company will also look at better integrating customers’ in-store and online experience.  Newman noted how the pandemic had changed customers’ shopping habits, with a shift away from city centres to suburban locations.

“Like all retailers, we also saw a huge increase in our online business,” he told Shopping Centre News.  “This trend continued throughout 2020 and into this year. What this has meant is that we have had to re-think what the optimum size of a Dymocks store is, while also recognising that work from home for some people, some of the time, may be here to stay and therefore traffic levels may not get back to pre-pandemic levels. It has also meant that we have accelerated our omni-channel plans significantly.”

He added: “We are a network of locally owned and operated franchised bookstores, all under the umbrella of an iconic nationally recognised brand and are able to utilise that store network and online store to allow our customers to shop when they want, where they want.”

The company is to use a tagline ‘Locally owned, nationally known’.  Looking ahead, Newman noted: “During Covid, people have rediscovered reading and it is up to us to make sure that those people continue to do so.