Jan Cameron buys Aussie retail chain

Kathmandu founder Jan Cameron hasn’t been sitting around twiddling her fingers during the recession – she’s been out hunting for a bargain.

Reports in Australia confirm Ms Cameron’s company, Retail Adventures, has bought the assets of collapsed Australian company Discount Retail for an undisclosed sum.

Home to brands such as Go-Lo, Sam’s Warehouse and Crazy Clark’s, ADR had 400 stores across Australia and 10,000 employees.

The sale also includes Chickenfeed, the profitable 29-store Tasmania-based business which was not in receivership or administration.

"I am delighted to have the opportunity to invest in such a significant player in the Australian retail market," Ms Cameron said in a statement.

"This business has a real opportunity to re-establish itself as the leading player in the discount variety sector."

ADR reported a net loss of $A8.2 million for the 2008 financial with revenues of $A893 million, compared with a profit of $A21 million the year prior.

It collapsed in January this year.

In its annual report, it blamed its poor performance on tough trading conditions, troubles with the introduction of a new computer system, low stock turnover and several senior management changes.

Ms Cameron's main competition in the bid was fellow Australian budget retailer, The Reject Shop.

Ms Cameron shuns the spotlight but has developed a reputation for making prudent investments, and turning around struggling business.

She sits at 24 on NBR’s Rich List with a valuation of $320 million, second only to Lynette Erceg among the women, and is famously tight-lipped about her investments.

As well as Kathmandu, in which she sold her stake in 2006 for $275 million, she has also founded high-end home wares stores Nood (New Objects Of Desire) and Dog’s Breakfast.

She has also recently increased her holdings in Pumpkin Patch to 9% in January, and also boosted her Postie Plus stake to 17.8% this month.

Both companies have struggled of late, and its clear Ms Cameron is focussed on taking advantage of soft market conditions in the retail sector.


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