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PRG Not Party to Winz Operation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRG Not Party to Winz Operation

Auckland – 2 March 2001 – Pacific Retail Group (NZSE: PRG) denies the allegation, made in today’s issue of National Business Review, that its consumer credit division “uses debt collectors to bribe Winz staff for the addresses of credit defaulters.”

In refuting the claim, PRG CEO, Peter Halkett, said “We are a nationwide company and we employ the services of some thirty-four debt collectors and repossession agency companies throughout New Zealand. We are well aware of our legal and ethical obligations and we remain vigilant in observing them.”

“We are very clear in discussions with contracted collectors that we require them to act legally in locating and dealing with defaulters. The practice referred to in the story is illegal – whether information is sourced from Winz or other organisations restricted under the Privacy Act. We ensure our agents know that it is illegal and that we neither condone nor encourage such behaviour.

“We continuously review our relationship with them, and their business practices. Were we to become aware of an agency obtaining information by illegal or questionable means, we would move swiftly to sever our association with it.

“While we are concerned about the unsubstantiated allegations, we have no information as to specific agencies or instances. Naturally we have discussed the matter with the collection and recovery agencies we employ, but can do no more until we receive further information. When that happens we will review it and will act on it in an appropriate manner.

“Had the NBR taken the time to check with us before writing this story, we have no doubt they would have avoided making reference us in association with this matter.”

ENDS

About PRG
Pacific Retail Group is an NZSE-listed retail company. The appliance, electronics and computer retailer has 90 stores and sales of over $360 million, trading through its Noel Leeming, Bond & Bond, Computer City, Living & Giving and Pacific Retail Finance brands.

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