Ten months after Apple Store opening, CompNow pulls out of Chadstone

David Braue
13 July, 2009
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Apple reseller CompNow has closed the doors of its Chadstone Shopping Centre outlet in Melbourne’s south-east, ten months after Apple opened its first Victorian Apple Store upstairs from CompNow Chadstone back in September 2008.

CompNow pulled out of the retail mecca after its lease expired at the end of June, concluding a competitive situation that found the centre supporting two dedicated Apple resellers as well as a number of third-party Apple retailers including JB Hi-Fi, Myer, and David Jones.

At the time of the Apple Store Chadstone opening, CompNow managing director Adam Blacklock was confident that free educational seminars, readily accessible support and competitive prices would keep the outlet relevant. However, with rising rents at Chadstone, an overall softer retail market, and intrinsic challenges in keeping the 55 square-metre shop competitive with Apple’s far-larger outlet, Blacklock said the decision was made to refocus the company’s retail presence on its more profitable locations.

Blacklock was quick to dismiss suggestions the Apple Store had been the sole reason for the decision: “We certainly took a hit” from the new competitor, he conceded, “although it wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be. There’s also a lot of competition around aside from them, and the downturn made a difference as well. But we knew when [the Apple Store] opened that it would be very unlikely we would renew the lease.”

With the Chadstone store shuttered, CompNow has extended the trading hours of its nearby High Street, Malvern location to match those that were previously available from the Chadstone store – namely, seven-day trading and late-night Thursday and Friday night trading. CompNow has traded in Malvern for 15 years, and Blacklock says many loyal customers from the Chadstone site have shifted to the Malvern outlet.

Chadstone isn’t the only site where CompNow is facing off against Apple: the recently-opened Apple Store Doncaster in Westfield’s Doncaster Shoppingtown, which the company opened after the centre’s major renovations completed last year.

Two months after the opening of Apple Store Doncaster, CompNow’s revenues from that outlet have been “totally flat”, Blacklock said: “it hasn’t gone either way. I think we’re in a much better position there than we were at Chadstone, given the size of the store and the offering we’re able to provide there compared to what we could in Chadstone. It’s a much better situation.”

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