Accent, which owns The Athlete’s Foot, will close at least 28 stores in the next six months. Picture: Facebook
Accent, which owns The Athlete’s Foot, will close at least 28 stores in the next six months. Picture: Facebook

Aussie retail icon to close 28 stores

Accent Group's chief executive says there's been a "seismic and most likely enduring" shift towards online shopping during the COVID-19 lockdowns and the company is trying to capitalise on the trend.

Accent, which owns Athlete's Foot, Platypus and Hype DC, will reopen its more than 500 stores across Australia and New Zealand in the next two weeks but is also trying to renegotiate leases so rent is calculated as a portion of sales.

"The company considers this to be the fairest method of ensuring that losses are shared proportionately between landlords and tenants over the coming months as the economy recovers from this social and economic crisis," the company said on Monday.

It has successfully renegotiated leases for more than 100 stores but was unable to come to terms with one major landlord and has given notice that it will exit 28 store leases when they expire during the next six months.

Accent will close at least 28 stores in the next six months. Picture: Supplied
Accent will close at least 28 stores in the next six months. Picture: Supplied

Accent says more closures are possible and it will be re-evaluating the size, location and format of its store network in the coming months.

Since it closed its stores on March 27 for four weeks amid the coronavirus restrictions, digital sales have grown from about $250,000 a day to between $800,000 and $1.1 million a day, the company said.

Accent believes this represents a "permanent shift in consumer habits in Australia and New Zealand and we expect our online sales to represent a much larger share of our total sales in the future".