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Country Road has travelled a long way since its beginnings in 1974 when it was started as a manufacturer and supplier of specialist casual cotton shirts. Re-launched in 2004 with a new modern identity, it is now a nationally and internationally recognised brand with operations in New Zealand and Asia. It is in the business of the design, sourcing, retail, licensing and wholesale distribution of quality lifestyle products. Its ranges include all kinds of apparel, homeware and furniture. 


Country Road is a market leader in the Australian retail and fashion industry. It has internationally recognised brands across New Zealand, Asia and South Africa.

In 2009 Country Road won the Marie Claire magazine fashion retailer of the year, the Australian Retailers Association clothing and footwear retailer of the year and the association’s award for the overall retailer of the year.

Country Road was acquired by Woolworths Holdings in 1998. The successful trial of Country Road within Woolworths stores in 2008 has developed into an important and exciting expansion initiative for both businesses. Country Road is offered in 13 Woolworths stores with the first stand-alone store opened late 2009.

Country Road has more than 60 retail stores, an additional 80 concession outlets, and over 2 000 employees in Australia and New Zealand. Country Road is a truly iconic Australian brand and has become a significant market leader in the Australian retail and fashion industry.


Sales in comparable stores were down a disappointing 8.6% (in Australian dollar terms) reflecting the very challenging trading conditions in Australia – comparable sales there were down 10.9%. This was offset by an increase in South African (rand denominated) sales of 24% (with comparable store sales up 7.9%) where the Country Road and Trenery brands continue to perform well. The segment is targeting a return on sales of 8% in the medium term. In addition to the 14 Country Road and five Trenery stores opened in 2011, the business plans to open a further three stores in South Africa in 2012 (whilst closing one in Australia), and then opening a further three stores in Australia in each of the subsequent years.

With difficult trading in Australia and strong performance of brands in South Africa, Country Road is focused on a continued drive on cost.
A new Chief executive officer, Howard Goldberg, was appointed in March 2011 in an attempt to drive improvement. He comes with extensive Australian retail experience and has already begun to make a very positive mark on the business.


We began as a niche women's shirting business in 1974 and soon became Australia's first lifestyle brand, renowned for simply stylish, high-quality apparel, accessories, and homewares. The 1980s and 1990s saw us significantly expand our Australian store base and wholesale business, whilst also entering the US and Asian markets. Our innovative Country Road superstore concept was developed and, for the first time, Australians could access all four key product areas - womenswear, menswear, accessories, and homewares - in one integrated lifestyle destination. The 1990s were, however, lean years. The US business failed. In Australia, the brand became less competitive and ultimately unprofitable.

With a bold new vision for the brand, Woolworth Holdings Ltd South Africa secured a controlling interest in Country Road in 1998 and we began to re-build the business from the bottom up. We exited the US and Asian markets, reduced our prices, and established a more fashionable offering in step with changing consumer trends. In 2004 we relaunched with a new modern identity. Over the next 3 years our store base began to expand rapidly. We ceased wholesaling and entered Australia's two major department stores on a concession basis. Childrenswear and babywear ranges were introduced, completing our lifestyle offer.

With 60 retail stores, an additional 80 concession outlets, and over 2000 employees in Australia and New Zealand, we've regained control of the brand and once again become a significant market leader in the Australian retail and fashion industry.  

Related News

Woolworths reports strong results
29/08/2013 - 08:34
Highlights • Turnover up 23.2% • Profit before tax up 27.1% • Headline earnings per share up 27.3% (52 weeks: 25.3%) • Return on equity up from 46.4% to 49.7% • Cash dividend of 148 cents declared

Woolworths outshines competitors
05/08/2013 - 10:25
A surge in Woolworths’ sales, which bucked the weaker sales growth trend of ailing local retailers, was because the food and fashion retailer was not dependent on credit like its competitors, analysts have said.

Business startup bags big Woolies contract
14/03/2013 - 15:12
Cape Town - A steadfast commitment to exceptional quality, service and big dreams has allowed a startup company to turn their dreams into reality by manufacturing and supplying luxury paper bags for Country Road and Trenery - brands owned by Woolworths Holdings [JSE:WHL].

Retail mogul cries foul over Country Road
15/08/2012 - 09:42
Australian retail mogul Solomon Lew has lashed out at Woolworths, accusing the South African company of using the planned acquisition by Country Road of fashion group Witchery to force him out of Country Road, legal letters revealed yesterday.

Country Road to buy top fashion house
02/08/2012 - 09:08
Johannesburg - Retailer Woolworths Holdings [JSE:WHL] announced on Wednesday that its indirectly-held subsidiary‚ Country Road‚ has entered into an agreement to acquire the Witchery Group from Gresham Private Equity for A$172m. Witchery is one of Australia’s leading fashion brands.