FLIGHT Centre is expanding its retail network, with the company’s largest Australian store set to open in the heart of Brisbane.
The company, which has just revealed record profit and sales results for 2012/13,
has announced plans to bolster its normal shop growth by opening a flagship location in the city’s Queen Street Mall this September.
The flagship 114 Queen Street store, known internally as a hyperstore, has been secured on a five-year lease and will be the second of its kind in Australia.
Flight Centre’s first Australian hyperstore opened in Perth’s Hay Street Mall last year.
Flight Centre Australia executive general manager Tom Walley said the new Queen Street hyperstore would eventually house up to 70 sales consultants spread across a total footprint of 580 square metres, making it 10-12 times the size of a standalone Flight Centre retail store.
He said new features would also be included in the store’s design to enhance the travel shopping experience for customers.
“Flight Centre’s UK business developed the hyperstore concept and the model was subsequently exported to the USA and Australia,” Mr Walley said.
“In basic terms, the hyperstore concept delivers cost effective access to prime retail sites because rental costs are divided across a much larger workforce.
“Typically, Flight Centre sales teams are located in the hyperstore’s premier walk-past locations and direct businesses that primarily service phone and email enquiry are spread across other levels.
“The Queen Street store will be designed in a way that allows us to showcase these specialist businesses to customers and will incorporate new features that create a more exciting retail environment.
“These features will include dedicated product zones, digital signage and various tools that will help customers fine-tune their travel plans.
“In Australia, we plan to open more hyperstores when opportunities arise, but will also continue to roll-out traditional shops and, at the same time, enhance all sales channels as part of our blended travel offering that combines the best of the on and offline models.”
The Queen Street hyperstore’s sales force will include:
Flight Centre consultants in the building’s prime ground floor and mezzanine-level retail space; and
Eight additional sales teams, each specialising in round-the-world airfares, cruises, first and business class travel or corporate travel, in the property’s other locations
The lease agreement for 114 Queen Street was negotiated by Mark Platsis, of CBRE Brisbane.
“We had extremely strong interest in the tenancy, as is always the case when properties come up for lease in the Queen Street Mall,” Mr Platsis said.
“Due to the large amount of area and the configuration of space over several levels, 114 Queen Street suited Flight Centre as it could utilise the total NLA, an option that was not available to many of the fashion retailers who were also interested in the premises.”
Flight Centre Limited now has 2500 shops and businesses and more than 16,000 people in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the USA, Canada, South Africa, India, Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Dubai.
The company plans to expand its sales network by 6-8% globally during 2013/14 and expects to recruit an additional 3000 people in Australia alone this year to meet its expansion needs and to accommodate normal staff turnover.
In addition to growing its shop network, FLT is also on the hunt for new head office location in Brisbane and has now narrowed its shortlist to two properties.
The shortlisted properties are South Point at South Bank (Anthony John) and 358 Wickham Street in Fortitude Valley, a Prime Space building.
The company currently leases two main offices in Brisbane’s CBD – at 545 Queen Street and 316 Adelaide Street – and plans to consolidate into a single location when its leases expire in 2016.
A final decision is expected within the next month.