The many millions being poured into these large-format experiential stores is part of a wider investment by the $4 billion Spotlight Retail Group – owned by Rich Listers the Fraid and Fried families – in their physical store networks.
In April, Spotlight opened a 2300 square metre Harris Scarfe Home store on the Gold Coast – double the size of other Harris Scarfe Home stores – new retail centers being developed in alongside Hervey Bay, Maroochydore and Shepparton.
Spotlight Group executive deputy chairman Zac Fried said the rollout of Anaconda’s Adventure HQ stores was part of a “broader strategy of exploring new and innovative ways of making outdoor activities more accessible, engaging, and exciting for both novice and experienced customers.”
The first of its kind in the outdoor and camping retail sector, the super-sized Anaconda store is part of a retail growing trend of experientialing which has emerged amid the acceleration of online retailing during the pandemic.
Earlier this year, ASX-listed toy, hobby and baby products retailer Toys R Us Australia revealed it was building its “experience center” where families can interact with toys in a “unique and fun manner” and then have their orders delivered to them via automated mobile robots (AMRs).
In addition, the likes of Scentre Group and Vicinity Centers have rebadged their mega malls as “destinational” and “living” centers with a wider array of entertainment offerings, culinary experiences and services.
Anaconda’s super-sized stores will provide customers with “indoor theater” including demonstrations and events, whilst also allowing the retailer to expand its product range into much larger items including boats, trailers and caravans, creating a “one-stop-shop” for its customers.
“We see opportunities for one of these Adventure HQs in most capital cities,” Mr Lude said.
“There is one in the works in Queensland right now. Melbourne is another sought-after location. We believe in this model.”
The expansion of its store network comes despite online sales now accounting for 15-20 per cent of its Spotlight’s total annual sales, after surging during the pandemic. Sales across the group this year are expected to exceed $2.6 billion.
However, the group still firmly believes that most of its customers prefer to shop or visit their stores, especially when it comes to purchasing larger items offered by Anaconda’s new mega store.
“No one in Australia offers access to caravans and, boats all in one location,” said Spotlight general manager of marketing Jason Wolff.
Sitting alongside Anaconda’s existing range of apparel, camping goods and accessories, Mr Wolff mean customers had a “paddock to plate” style offering.