Retail chain is planning Albury store

HARRIS Scarfe will open a department store in Albury within six to 12 months.

The company is canvassing possible sites and is in discussions with several property owners.

Harris Scarfe is confident the store can compete alongside Myer, pointing to the success of its Ballarat store in a similar market.

It sells itself as a retailer able to deliver low-cost and high-quality goods.

National property and legal manager Ashley Thompson said the company wanted to open a store in Albury as soon as possible.

“We are aggressively looking at Albury at the moment,” he said.

“We are considering all our options.”

The company’s Albury expansion also has to take into account any possible construction work.

Mr Thompson was not able to identify sites but there have been rumours it is eyeing the former Sam’s Warehouse store in Olive Street.

“We’ll move fairly quickly once we have established where we want to be,” Mr Thompson said.

Albury-Wodonga’s growing population and its strong retail sector were the major reasons behind the decision to move into the area.

Mr Thompson said the Albury Myer store would not affect Harris Scarfe’s potential on the Border.

“We have got a very successful store that we opened a few years ago in Ballarat,” he said.

“That store and a Myer store operate side by side in Ballarat — they’re only a street apart.”

Mr Thompson said Harris Scarfe had also done well with its Bendigo store and had operated a successful store at Shepparton for many years.

“We’re in an expansion process; we’re opening between five and 10 stores a year across the country.”

Harris Scarfe originated in Adelaide, where it opened another major store earlier this year.

It has taken over a former Myer site in Adelaide, and has similar plans for other sites when and where Myer pulls out of the market.

Harris Scarfe, recently bought by South African private equity house Pepkor, is also looking at a greater presence in Sydney and Queensland.

Earlier this month its managing director Joe Barberis reportedly described the Harris Scarfe market as “Myer products at Target prices”.

Mr Thompson said the Albury store was likely to create many jobs, though the exact number would not be known until further down the track.