Dymocks makes surprising move into food industry

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 4th February 2009

Dymocks, Australia’s second largest bookseller, has acquired an 80% stake in the Australian owned and operated Healthy Habits sandwich bar franchise as they seek to diversify their business.

Katherine Sampson, the founder of the Healthy Habits franchise, retains a 20% equity holding in the company and will remain as Managing Director of the company – which was recently ranked as the eighth fastest growing franchise in Australia by BRW. Healthy Habits, which now has 30 stores in operation, has grown quickly since 2004 with the opening of 26 new outlets and, with their focus on healthy options, Dymocks contends that extensive growth potential remains.

Dymocks has been operating franchise book stores in Australia for 130 years and expects to open at least 10 stores in Australia this year, with overseas opportunities to also be considered.

“We are very excited about acquiring a majority stake in the Healthy Habits business,” Don Grover, Dymocks CEO, reported. “Healthy Habits has a strong Victorian and Queensland presence. We have plans for a minimum of 10 new store openings this year and we are particularly keen to expand the business in New South Wales.”

“Whether you are eight or eighty, there is an increasing demand for healthy eating alternatives and I don’t believe anyone has done it as well as Healthy Habits,” Mr Grover noted. “Katherine and her team have created a strong, modern brand which promotes healthy lifestyle habits and backs it up with truly fresh, wholesome ingredients.

Ms Sampson hopes that the business experience of Dymocks will provide an added boost to the franchise she created. “Dymocks has a wealth of retail and franchise experience which will assist in accelerating our aggressive expansion plans,” she said. “Our ability to tap their expertise as well as access their tried and trusted processes and systems will mean greater support and improved efficiencies for stores.”

Mr Grover added that the acquisition comes at a time when Dymocks is actively looking to diversify and acquire businesses in other retail growth sectors in spite of economic concerns. “Dymocks has witnessed numerous economic downturns over its 130 years and contrary to the doom and gloom in the market, we see some great investment opportunities. It is our intention to pursue these,” he advised.

The deal, for an undisclosed amount, is effective immediately.