Australian Geographic Returns to Stores

May 22, 2020 Updated: May 27, 2020

Iconic homegrown brand Australian Geographic is coming back to major shopping centers this August. The company will launch its physical presence in a new partnership with QBD Books, the largest Australian-owned book retailer.

This comes as the retails sector is struggling and the closure of 167 Target stores in the next 12 months due to underperformance.

“Australian Geographic Holdings Pty Ltd and QBD Books will roll out an exciting new retail partnership,” Australian Geographic Managing Director Jo Runciman stated in a media release on May 21.

The two brands will integrate online in June, then launch a dedicated Australian Geographic shop within QBD Books stores by mid-August.

The shop-within-a-shop arrangement and branded kiosks will offer Australian Geographic products, books, and educational gifts and gadgets to customers.

“We always thought we’d have a preference to have physical retail again but we were waiting for the right partner. We weren’t in a rush at all,” Runciman told Inside Retail.

Last November, Australian Geographic ended its licensing agreement with educational book retailer The Co-Op, which entered into voluntary administration. Since then, Australian Geographic has shifted from physical to online retail and enjoyed successful sales particularly during the peak of the CCP virus pandemic.

“Desperate homeschoolers” flocked online to find educational toys and resources to entertain their kids, and puzzles were being sold out before they landed.

“We went from making a few thousand dollars a month in e-commerce to a couple hundreds of thousands of dollars a month,” Runciman said.

Growth this month was around 595 percent.

The partnership with QBD will enable Australian Geographic to significantly expand its retail operations.

“QBD approached us and it’s a good fit with our brand. They seemed to really understand and appreciate the brand,” Runciman said.

QBD Books, originally Queensland Book Depot, is a large chain of bookshops originally started in the late 1890s by the Uniting Church in Australia. It has 77 locations nationwide with the majority of stores in Queensland and New South Wales.

QBD CEO Nick Croydon said that his team was “very excited about the partnership and look forward to introducing both existing and new QBD customers to the iconic brand”.