How to buy your wedding dresses from the best department store
It’s hard to imagine a world without Burkes department stores and the countless boutiques that dot the shopping malls of Australia.
But a few years ago, the chain was struggling to compete with established retailers like Marks & Shandys, where the stores had been around for decades and had a huge following.
The company’s struggles to survive were just one example of how the industry is changing, says Kate Miller, a senior lecturer in retail management at the University of Sydney.
“There are so many different players, you can’t really control what you see and what you don’t see.”
Now, Burkes is set to expand its business beyond its stores in New Zealand and Canada, while in Australia, it plans to open up its doors in Queensland and Victoria.
“We’re looking to take the Australian shopping experience to the next level,” Burkes chief executive, James Cook, said in November.
“We want to offer our customers more choice in how they spend their money.”
“There’s a lot of competition in the retail world, especially online,” Miller said.
“But I think that the Burkes brand will continue to be an incredibly strong, consistent presence.”
“It’s not just the retailing side, but the online side that’s changing,” she said.
“They’re going to become the go-to place for people wanting to buy a wedding dress online.
I think they’re going be the biggest online retailer in the country.”
The trend is already being seen in Melbourne.
Last month, the Herald Sun reported that shoppers were buying more online, with many using their smartphones to look for the right size online.
In Queensland, Burks has also launched a special online store for weddings, where couples can shop for dresses, bridesmaid dresses and brides, and even get special gifts for the occasion.
Burkes has also taken a hit in the past year, having to lay off staff in the first half of this year due to budget cuts.
But Miller said it was not just about the retail side of the business, but also the lifestyle.
“The Burkes ethos has been about taking what’s popular in the day-to-day shopping experience and making it more personal, and creating a new, more personalized shopping experience for our customers,” she told ABC News.
“We’ve seen a lot more people start shopping online, but they’re not necessarily shopping for their wedding.”
And there’s no doubt that online shopping has changed the way weddings are planned.
“Online shopping has helped a lot,” Miller added.
“People will shop on their own, rather than being tied up in the wedding plans.
The wedding industry is going to change forever.”
The Burks family’s history dates back to 1899, when the family started out selling shoes, and now they own and operate over 20 outlets in Australia and New Zealand.
For the next 100 years, the Burks company expanded its portfolio of brands, and today it has more than 80 brands in 50 countries.