Posted: 01 May. 2021 10 min. read

Seize the Time

The rise and rise of streetwear retailer Culture Kings is proof you need to take your opportunities when you find them.

If 2020 was about making quick decisions to survive, 2021 is about informed strategies to seize opportunities for growth, says Richard Wheeler FAICD, Queensland Market Leader for Deloitte Private. 

Companies with strong e-business models are expanding their advantage, while others are reinventing themselves to retain pandemic pivots that worked.

“Having made changes, they’re reinvigorated and optimistic about this year,” says Wheeler. “We are very busy helping clients with new strategies to position themselves best.”

Many clients, he says, are eyeing offshore markets after last year’s turbocharged growth in online shopping proved that a physical presence is unnecessary. 

Others are reviewing their supply chains after suffering shortages of key inputs that could be traced to single suppliers.

Some of Wheeler’s clients are reassessing workplace and workforce needs, looking for flexible office space and accessing talent pools outside the CBD through remote working. And digital enablement is top of the list for many who were crippled by lockdowns.

Going global

Streetwear clothing and sneakers retailer Culture Kings is leveraging its strong performance for a huge leap. 

Despite some supply issues, 2020 sales growth for its mainly online business more than replaced the hit from lockdowns at its eight brick-and-mortar stores. It’s restructured to take on private equity investment and transition from an advisory board to a formal board of directors. Eventually, it plans to list the business in the US as a roll-up with two other online retailers. 

“The partnership with private equity will provide us with the support and expertise on the business end as we expand globally, allowing us to build on the brand vision,” says CEO Simon Beard, who founded Culture Kings in 2008. 

Good advice

Wheeler has been advising Culture Kings since 2016, helping the business grow from turnover of $50 million to $250 million-plus. Initially, the advisory board was seeking more sophisticated audit and tax advice than its Gold Coast accounting firm could offer — plus help appointing a CFO and building the finance team.

As the company grew, Wheeler brought in other Deloitte experts to help with optimising online sales, entering the US and New Zealand markets, raising capital, platform integration and restructuring for external investment. 

“It’s been about listening, acting as a sounding board and prioritising issues, not swamping them with 1000 solutions,” says Wheeler, who chats with Beard every week or two. “We bring the right people to the table at the right time.”

“It’s been great to have Richard and Deloitte help guide us from a young, hungry, make-it-happen startup to an investible, scaled brand — with global dominance within reach,” says Beard.

Article published in Company Director magazine, May 2021

More about author

Richard Wheeler

Richard Wheeler

Partner, Deloitte Private

Richard is a Partner in Deloitte’s Tax & Legal Practice.  Focusing primarily on the private market, he provides taxation advisory and compliance services to large private groups as well as public groups, international corporates, professionals and expatriates. Richard works with clients across a broad range of sectors and markets, including Tourism & Transportation, Consumer Products & Retail, Agriculture, Technology and Mining Services.