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Huffer gets established across the ditch

One of New Zealand’s most recognisable clothing brands has crossed the Tasman, opening two new retail stores in Australia.

Huffer, which was previously only available in Australia online and in certain stockists, has opened two stores within a month in Sydney.

The first store, in Newtown, opened in early October and was followed by a second store in Bondi at the end of last month.  The latest stores are the first Huffer has opened outside New Zealand since the brand was established in 1997. Along with the five flagship stores in New Zealand, Huffer clothing is currently sold in 150 streetwear stores throughout Australasia.

Huffer’s move across the ditch comes in time to support the brand’s current strategic growth plan, which has a strong wholesale focus. The two retail stores in Sydney were opened to help support the brand, build awareness and provide a customer experience unique to Huffer’s bricks and mortar stores.

Huffer’s owner and managing director Steve Dunstan says the reaction to the latest stores has been largely positive.

“I have managed to spend a decent amount of time in store, speaking with customers and also other neighbouring businesses in the local communities and feedback has been pleasantly welcoming,” he says.

The two locations were targeted as they have localised and contained communities with great visibility. Building a rapport with other local businesses and assimilating into the retail landscape is a top priority for the brand.

“These people [locals] will be the backbone of our existence and ideally help us communicate our brand out to a wider market,” Dunstan says.

Dunstan hopes the new international focus will help the brand grow, and change for the better.

“We have plenty of brand building to do and our retail stores are such an important part of developing activation.”

Next on the agenda, Huffer has its sights set further south in Victoria. The company is looking to grow its retail presence in Melbourne, which is hoped will continue to support its wholesale model.

Huffer also has an Australian-focused digital and ecommerce strategy to work in with an overall brand development expansion plan. But plans any further afield than our closest neighbours are still some time away yet. 

“Australasia is a huge focus for the company right now and we have a few steps to take before we look at an opposite hemisphere offering and the seasonal and inventory challenges around that step.”

Catering to the different needs of shoppers in Australia and New Zealand is the main focus at the moment. Stepping into a new market, with noticeable climate and cultural differences is a learning curve for the brand.

“Having our retail stores is giving us live feedback and a much better understanding of the Australian market.”

The stock in the newest stores will largely be consistent with items available in New Zealand, but there will also local elements in the two Australian stores.

This story first appeared at The Register.

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