Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Carters of Echuca to be replaced by Cotton On

Cotton On plans to set up a superstore when its takes over the Carters site on March.

TRENT HORNEMAN September 17, 2012 4:12am

Clothing chain Cotton On will spend close to $1million to refurbish Carters of Echuca’s Hare St premises when it takes over next year.

Charles L King Managing Director Gary Wood, who was in charge of the deal, said Cotton On would set up a superstore in the Carters building in late March next year.

Mr Wood said Cotton On had approached Carters’ owner John Carter, expressing interest in the prominent CBD shopfront.

‘‘They have invested heavily in Echuca-Moama because of all of the wonderful features we have to offer,’’ he said.

Carters will close its doors in late March, with a three-month refurbishment planned.

Mr Carter said it was a tough decision to close his business after 73 years in his family.

‘‘I am the fourth generation of my family to run the business. My children have worked in the shop during holidays, which makes them the fifth generation,’’ he said.

‘‘Less than one per cent of family-run businesses last five generations.’’

Mr Carter said he had planned to retire in about three years, but reconsidered when Cotton On approached him at the start of the year.

‘‘It took a long time to come to this decision. When I made my mind up I told my staff as soon as possible so that they could start planning their future,’’ he said.

Carters employs 28 staff, mostly permanent part-time.

Mr Wood said Cotton On would look to employ between 18 and 28 staff. Its existing store in Hare St will remain.

In a week where local businesses Country Class and Carters have announced they would close their doors, Mr Carter reflected on the changing face of retail.

He said while Echuca-Moama businesses had survived the drought and global financial crisis, online stores were a direct threat.

‘‘Tourism has been great for this region. It has offset the effects of the drought and the global financial crisis,’’ he said.

‘‘If customers start buying online, the region will never see that money again.’’

Mr Carter said he had received plenty of support from his customers, many of whom had shopped at the store their entire lives.

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