Written on the 4 July 2017 by David Simmons


FAMILY owned Munro Footwear Group has completed the acquisition of Fusion Retail Brands, the home to some of Australia's most iconic footwear brands.

The acquisition of Fusion means Australian brands like Williams, Mathers, Diana Ferrari, and Colorado will join Munro's ever increasing portfolio.

The move to acquire Fusion is in line with Munro's growth by acquisition strategy, and is the seventh acquisition for MFG in the last decade.

In addition to the iconic Australia brands Fusion brings to MFG, chief executive officer Jay Munro says it was the likeminded lovers of footwear at Fusion which really convinced him.

"Once we got to know the people and get involved with the team, we realised that there's some shoe loving people in the business, so we ended up being a really good fit," says Munro.

Fusion's impressive storefront network, with 195 stores nationwide, will boost MFG's retail footprint to 290 and its 500-strong workforce to more than 2000 employees nationally.

In addition to the geographical reach of Fusion, the acquisition brings many beloved Australian shoe brands into the hands of Munro, who already boast brands such as Styletread, Wanted, Midas, Mollini, Mountfords, and Django & Juliette.

"Williams is Australia's oldest footwear business founded in Ballarat in 1864," says Munro.

"It is in good hands with the Munro family, which has been shaping the Australian industry for 55 years."

"And Diana Ferrari, which is synonymous with Australia women all over the country, is a super brand that we really want to grow and see prosper."

Since 1962 the MFG has grown into one of Australia's leading retailers and wholesalers of footwear.

MFG's online storefront, Styletreads, recently announced its intentions to become an Amazon partner, giving the Australian retailer room to grow once the e-retailer lands on our shores.

Despite the success of Styletreads, Fusion Group General Manager Phil Scala says footwear will likely always remain a bricks & mortar experience for most shoppers.

"The thing about footwear, what makes it incredibly challenging, is you're dealing with eight to 10 sizes of shoes," says Scala.

"What you've got to do is make sure you give great service. We believe in bricks & mortar in Australia in retail. Even today, America, which is a very fast paced retail environment online, 85 per cent of footwear sales are still done in bricks & mortar. In Australia, its over 90."

For now, MFG have no immediate plans to make further acquisitions or make any big moves overseas. In fact, Munro says the group are content growing and exploring in Australia, now they are the biggest brand in the country.

"We've got a lot to do with Fusion," says Munro.

"Now that we're the biggest shoe brand in the country, what we can do with our product development and product intel with the Fusion sourcing capabilities is incredible."

"We think there's plenty of room for us to continue to grow in Australia and we've got lots of work to do in our own business, particularly over the next two to three years."

Author: David Simmons





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