Cotton On in high expansion mode

Benjamin Ward. Source: Super Retail Group

Cotton OnAustralian clothing and footwear retailer Cotton On Group intends to open 135 stores over the next 100 days in 13 countries, including New Zealand, Australia and the US.

Group CEO, Peter Johnson, said that over the next three years the retailer plans to open 570 stores, taking its total store footprint from around 1300 in 2014 to almost 1900.

The group also plans to lift online sales from around A$45 million or three per cent of total sales to A$250 million. Sales were estimated at A$1.5 billion in 2015.

COG has moved to a new e-commerce platform for the Cotton On brands which spans Kids and Body, footwear brand Rubi Shoes and homewares brand Typo, and is preparing to relaunch the Supre and Factorie websites.

In line with this focus it has appointed a senior Coles executive, Brendan Sweeney, as general manager of e-commerce.

This appointment as well as the recruitment of Sportsgirl’s former general manager of merchandise, Sarah Rovis, as general manager of budget Rubi Shoes, is part of the group’s mission to attract the world’s best retail talent and fill over 300 retail management roles across the globe in functions such as buying, distribution, finance, marketing and retail management.

Currently COG has about 20,000 team members across 17 countries in roles such as retail, logistics, e-commerce, marketing, buying, production, innovation, trend forecasting, health and wellbeing and careers.

The group is is also developing a secondment program to offer senior retail team members an opportunity to live and work in the USA, South Africa, Asia and Brazil.

Johnson said that in the past five years more than 100 members of the Australian team had undertaken long-term overseas assignments across COG’s global locations.

Owned by Nigel Austin and his cousin Ashley Hardwick, COG now dominates Premier Investments.

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