Will Glasgow Reporter

Will writes on subjects from retail to media, politics, entrepreneurialism, science and technology. He previously worked for The Australian Financial Review in Sydney and Canberra.

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Say goodbye to Centro and hello to Federation Centres

Published 11 December 2012 04:50, Updated 12 December 2012 05:42

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Say goodbye to Centro and hello to Federation Centres

The familiar Centro ‘c’ is due to disappear in the New Year as Centro takes the next step in a revitalisation process that commenced after the retail operator took a pounding in the GFC. Photo: Ben Rushton

For the more than 2500 retailers operating in Centro Retail Australian shopping centres, their place of work is going to change – or, rather, the sign out the front is going to be redone. Down will go the Centro sign and swirl of “c”. Up will go a “Federation Centres” sign with a spiralling ribbon.

That’s if the proposed renaming passes an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders on January 22.

The re-branding is part of the retail group’s strategy to move further from the financial mess it was left in after it was caught with too much debt and too much over-valued property in the 2008-09 financial crisis. The company was restructured last year.

Chairman Bob Edgar said that the new name reflected the change in the business. “Our proposal to become Federation Centres is much more than a simple name change. It also demonstrates the renewal actions taken by the organisation during the past year,” Edgar says.

Retailers in Centro stores contacted by BRW were unaware of the proposed change. “It’s not up to us,” says the operator of a flower shop in Centro Mornington.

“It doesn’t really impact me,” says an owner of a fashion store in the same centre, who was also unaware of the change.

Do they like the re-naming? “I’m not sure,” was the common response.

For most retailers their priority is dealing with the Christmas rush. The comings and goings of their corporate parent - even one trying to rebuild after a $200 million shareholder class action settlement - is peripheral.

As jewellery store owner Andrea puts it: “If they changed the location of the centre, that might be a big deal.”

If passed, the sign changes would occur throughout 2013 at the company’s 41 stores.