Emporium Reopening: Dick Smith Launches ‘Fashtronics’ Store Move

By Campbell Phillips | 17 Apr 2014

Yesterday was a big day for Melbourne’s local retail scene. Here’s our coverage of the Emporium building reopening, as well as the launch of Dick Smith’s Move retail concept.

Wednesday, April 16 was quite a day for Melbourne’s bricks-and-mortar retail scene, with the reopening of the Emporium building in Lonsdale Street, which included the launch of Move by Dick Smith‘s CEO Nick Abboud.

Move is new retail concept which aims to capture a different demographic compared Dick Smith’s regular customer. By pairing the fashionable side of consumer electronics and related accessories and tapping into a youthful audience, Move aims to be a store where the trendy youth go for mobile, audio and wearable devices.

Attending the store launch was Dion Lee, an independent Australian fashion designer whom Move collaborated with to produce a range of accessories. Lee’s limited edition smart phone and tablet covers are an exemplar of the type of categories Move seeks to leave its mark on.

Dion Lee

Fashion designer Dion Lee speaks with us at the recent Move store launch.

“I’ve worked in similar materials when creating designs for swimwear, but it was refreshing to create something for the technology space,” Lee says. “It’s really flattering that Move asked to partner with us for their launch and I’ll be looking forward to seeing how the product is received. I can see it as something we start to offer to our own customers as well.”

The Dion Lee website features a range of clothing for women, which can also be purchased from several other retail outlets. Lee tells us he has plans to open his own store in the Emporium building also.

Interestingly, the Move store is literally just around the corner from the Emporium’s Dick Smith outlet, which raises the concern of cannibalising sales. However, CEO Nick Abboud believes the two brands cater for entirely different audiences.

“Even before Dick Smith went public last year, we began investigating the various ways we could grow our business,” Abboud says. “One of the first things we realised was that Dick Smith only caters for a particular demographic – it wasn’t really catering for women or the youth market. By announcing a partnership with David Jones last year, we were able to begin targeting an affluent female demographic and now, with Move, we’re turning our sights to affluent youth.”

This strategy is echoed in just about every corner of the new Move store – which will soon be accompanied by a Highpoint and Bondi Junction outlet – and it’s also reflected in the way Abboud plans to build the brand’s visibility in the market.

Jasmin Howell, Friend in Fashion

Jasmin Howell curates a range of fashionable products for Move’s launch.

“Beyond the partnership we have with Dion Lee, we’ve also asked the Melbourne-based fashion blogger Jasmin Howell to curate her own collection of products,” he explains. “By bringing in some key influencers, we hope to make Move highly visible to our target market in a short period of time.”

Howell’s blog, Friend in Fashion, has its own established audience that will bring a ready-made source of engagement to Move. The use of new media influencers is a good fit for the tech-fashion crossover that Move is pursuing, especially as Abboud says that it will be some time before we can expect to see an e-commerce site appear for the brand.

“We’ll have a website to act as a showcase, but our aim to begin with is to tempt people into store and experience what Move is all about. That’s why we won’t be selling product through that website just yet.”

Having been through the store at launch, it’s clear that the leadership at Dick Smith have built a retail experience from the ground up. Of course, Move will make the most of the buying power and experience of the Dick Smith team, but everything else, from the store layout, to signage and even the POS terminals, has been crafted to stand apart.

What do you think of Dick Smith’s new concept brand? Check out the gallery below for more images from the reopened Emporium building and the launch of Move.