Vita Group braces for Telstra retail store buyback

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Vita Group braces for Telstra retail store buyback

Real estate company and the long-time landlord of Telstra’s retail stores Vita Group is bracing for a future without the telco’s retail stores in what it calls a new chapter for the company.

Telstra last week announced plans to buy back its retail stores from Vita, saying the move was to “keep pace with the growing digital economy” and give the telco more flexibility to respond to customer needs.

The decision also meant the telco won’t renew Vita’s dealer agreement in 2025 and the company will shift its focus to growing its skin health and wellness business, Artisan Aesthetic Clinics.

Vita said it is in discussions with Telstra to “ensure a suitable transition of value” for both parties, shareholders and team members.

Vita will however retain its Telstra Business Technology Centres, which services small and medium businesses with mobility and IoT solutions, and technology accessories retailer Sprout as part of Vita’s ICT business.

Vita also released its financial results for the first half of FY2021, revealing profit growth year over year despite a sizable decline in revenue.

In the six months ended 31 December 2020, Vita Group’s revenue declined 25 percent year over year from $431.5 million to $323.7 million. The company cited the impact of COVID-19 to its ICT business for the decline.

Net profit after tax meanwhile increased 27 percent from $14.5 million to $18.4 million on the back of strong performance from its Artisan stores, as well as tight expense management.

“We are pleased to have maintained profitability during a challenging period. Our progress in Artisan is strong and sustainable. The team has done an excellent job of managing our ICT channel and supporting Telstra customers despite COVID-19,” Vita Group chief executive Maxine Horne said.

“We are about to embark on a new chapter. We have significant capability in running a national, dispersed network and delivering a premium experience, resulting in value for all. The Vita team are disciplined, focused and passionate about looking after our customers and I thank them for their hard work (historical and future) and willingness to adapt and evolve.”

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