Reject Shop digs in despite costs

THE Reject Shop retail chain has confirmed it is committed to maintaining its Ipswich distribution centre despite a six-fold increase in insurance premiums in the wake of January's floods.

The company only opened the distribution hub in June 2010 before floodwaters inundated the building in January, destroying stock and damaging equipment including conveyor belts, forklifts and computers.

Managing director Chris Bryce assured the community his company was fully committed to its presence in Ipswich.

"The increased cost of insurance is one of many factors we closely assessed in our decision to continue to operate our Ipswich distribution centre going forward," he said.

"We are committed to growing our presence in the Queensland market, and having a distribution centre in the state is a key element of this strategy."

Speaking at the company's annual meeting in Melbourne last week, Mr Bryce said the company's work to reinstate the Ipswich operation meant they had been "operating with one arm tied behind our back for the past nine months".

"Since the flood, the bulk of our efforts have been geared towards stabilising the business rather than trading as we normally would," he said.

Despite the fallout from the January floods, the company will press ahead with its plans to substantially increase its number of outlets.

"Whilst short-term challenges exist, we remain confident in our long-term direction, despite having to tweak some planned initiatives as a result of the flood," Mr Bryce said.

"Our aim of 400 stores still remains more than achievable and we believe we can open around 20 new stores per annum."



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