Canningvale Australia Acquires the ‘Myer of Singapore’

Power Retail By Power Retail | 10 Jun 2021

Canningvale Australia has acquired Robinsons Singapore, a department store that’s been in operation for 165 years. Last year, the retailer collapsed as a result of the pandemic. 

Canningvale is relaunching the department store as a fully digital platform, with a ‘state of the art’ and vertically integrated e-commerce site. The retailer aims to develop the newly acquired platform as a virtual destination with ‘coveted’ designers, ‘exclusive’ labels and local couturiers.

As part of the acquisition, Canningvale has named former Hallenstein & Glassons Retail Group CEO Mark Goddard as the Managing Director of Canningvale Australia. Goddard has more than 30 years of experience with brands like Kmart, Spotlight, in Australia, and Toys R Us in Japan. His most recent role includes the Group CEO of NZ-based Hallenstein & Glasson Retail Group.

“It’s a privilege to have a retailer with Mark’s pedigree join our business. Couple Canningvale’s strengths and Mark’s expertise, and just watch Canningvale’s trajectory. Exciting times ahead,” shared Frank Prainito, the Chairman of Canningvale Australia.

Robinsons was bought out for $500 million in 2008, but collapsed during the pandemic, owing some $32 million to trade creditors and $160 million to related entities. The full terms of the deal were not disclosed. This purchase is a “measured step towards global expansion,” explained Frank Prainito. “We have been keen to extend operations into South East Asia for some time, but have been waiting for the right opportunity.”

As part of the acquisition, Jordan Prainito has been named the Managing Director of Robinsons Singapore. “Robinsons is the ideal choice for us. The company has a rich history, the brand has strong salience with Singaporean and South East Asian customers, it just needs to be modernised,” he explained.

The retailer plans to implement its learnings from Canningvale’s ‘digital transformation’ with e-commerce sales increasing ‘tenfold in under five years’, which was achieved with a “combination of sourcing expertise, range clarification, system automation, and a forensic focus on our customer,” Prainito explained.

Robinsons – originally known as Spicer and Robinson  – was founded in 1858 by Australian immigrant Phillip Robinson and James Gaborian Spicer. Over the years, it has sold men’s and women’s clothing, leather goods, confectionery and silverware. In 2020, it announced it would be closing its physical stores, and shut its last store in January this year.

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