Stores will be closing around the country as the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) changes its strategy and will focus on its online portal instead.

ABC Commercial states it “will begin a phased exit from its portfolio of ABC Shop properties. ABC Retail will review its lease arrangements with landlords and develop a revised retail model with a focus on ABC Shop Online and ABC branded outlets in other retailers.”

The ABC says this strategy aligns with the changing retail environment, as consumers increasingly access content digitally through subscription services and downloads and purchase physical products online. It is no longer possible for the ABC to sustain a large network of leased stores, traditionally reliant on DVD and CD formats. However, ABC DVDs, music, books, toys and merchandise will still be widely available for customers to purchase through ABC Shop Online and its 78 branded outlets with other retailers.

The ABC employs up to 300 staff in its retail operations and will engage in consultation with them over the coming months.

“The ABC Shops have been an important part of the ABC’s relationship with its audiences for the past 35 years and this decision has not been taken lightly,” says Robert Patterson, director of ABC Commercial. “However, this strategy will create a more cost effective, nimble and flexible approach to servicing customers.

“This direction is also in keeping with the shift of ABC audiences to accessing content across an array of digital platforms, while maintaining an appropriate level of physical retail distribution. The ABC is confident that this new strategy will ensure continued audience engagement. Consumers will still be able to purchase much loved content both online and in stores.”

Head of ABC Retail, Regina Hoekstra adds that the welfare of its staff will be a primary focus over the next few months. “We are conscious that the ABC Shop is close to the hearts of our teams and we appreciate their ongoing hard work and dedication.

“ABC Shop is a trusted brand with a strong product offer, loyal customers and an engaged, committed team. ABC Retail will continue to adapt to an ever-changing retail climate in order to provide a sustainable retailing experience for customers.”