Friday, February 23, 2024

Australia’s last Sanity stores close

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The end of an era: Iconic Australian retailer officially shuts down all 50 stores after 40 years in business

  • The last two Sanity stores closed

Australia’s last Sanity stores have officially closed with the iconic retailer trading in its physical shops for an online format.

The CD and DVD retailer closed the doors to its last two physical stores in Queensland‘s Browns Plains, south Brisbane, and Bundaberg on Sunday.

Sanity has been a staple of most Aussie shopping centres for more than 40 years.

During the height of its success, Sanity had more than 200 storefronts around the country. 

However, the store’s glory days are well behind it and its owners announced on January 4 it would be shutting its final 50 storefronts. 

Sanity (above) closed its last two stores in South Brisbane and Bundaberg on Sunday after more than 40 years of business

CEO Ray Itaoui, who purchased the brand 13 years ago, confirmed the sad news and warned the physical stores would cease to exist, prompting an outpouring of grief from staff and former customers.

Mr Itaoui said the shift in strategy was led by consumers’ recent preference to ditch physical media in lieu of streaming platforms such as Spotify and Netflix.

‘With our customer shifting to digital for their visual and music content consumption, and with diminishing physical content available to sell to our customer, it has made it impossible to continue with our physical stores,’ he said.

Staff learnt their fate the same day the public found out – on January 4 – before being told prices of everything in-store would plummet to 50 per cent immediately to clear off excess stock. 

A handful of stores across Western and South Australia were the first to see their doors close for the last time in late-January, with the remaining stores along the eastern states closing throughout February and March.

The Sanity stores in Browns Plains and Bundaberg closed their doors at 4pm sharp, officially bringing Sanity’s storefront business to an end.

Sanity was launched as a single store selling vinyl records and cassettes, labelled Jetts in Pakenham, Victoria, by businessman Brett Blundy in 1980.

In 1992, the expanding franchise was relaunched as Sanity and the first outlet to take the name was in the north eastern Melbourne suburb, Doncaster.

Sanity announced it would close all its physical stores on January 4 (pictured, Sanity employees in Mount Gambier, SA)

Sanity announced it would close all its physical stores on January 4 (pictured, Sanity employees in Mount Gambier, SA)

After purchasing the business in 2009, Itaoui hoped to continue that growth but failed to compete with the convenience of the internet.

Now, he hopes to bring Sanity back by moving the store online.

‘Our online business – sanity.com.au – will continue to operate, and will service the many loyal customers the brand has continued to be dedicated to over the decades,’ Itaoui said.

‘Our priority right now is to ensure each of our team members knows exactly what this means for their career and employment future.’

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