Next Byte brand to disappear as Apple reseller shuts down

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Next Byte brand to disappear as Apple reseller shuts down

Remaining retail outlets to close from early next year.

Iconic Apple reseller Next Byte will cease to exist from next March when its parent company closes the doors of the last storefront in a surrender to the retailer's long struggle to compete against Apple outlets. 

The Next Byte brand has underperformed financially over the last few years as Apple increased its physical presence in the country.

The future of the business first came into serious doubt in 2012 when it was revealed parent Vita Group planned to refurbish the 18-strong store portfolio to mirror Apple's design following poor sales.

Its branding changed to "Apple premium reseller", and Vita Group relocated a large number of Next Byte stores to new locations further away from competing Apple outlets.

The move to operate as "regional geographic fill-ins for the Apple brand" saw sales improve in the locations that weren't competing directly with Apple, but the business still failed to perform to expectations.

Consistently falling revenues and several years of impairment charges meant the company has now taken the decision to shut down the retail outlet for good.

As of March next year, the remaining eight Next Byte stores - Vita Group has progressively closed ten outlets over the last few years - will have all ceased operating.

Next Byte's existing business customers will be served instead through Vita Group's telecommunications and business operations.

The company will incur a one-off charge in the first half of the year of around $3.2 million - the current value of lease obligations, inventory write-downs and redundancies. It will also incur $1.1 million in fixed asset charges.

Following the store closures, Vita Group expects it will reap around $1.6 million in ongoing benefits based on cost savings in its support centre and the migration of customers to other areas of the business.

Vita Group bought Next Byte in 2007 for $30 million. The brand was established in 1995 as Apple's largest premium reseller in Australia.

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