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PRG Moves Into Billion Dollar Furniture Category

Pacific Retail Group Launches Into Billion Dollar Furniture Category

Pacific Retail Group (NZSE: PRG) today entered a new market, one that offers the company significant revenue and growth opportunities, by adding furniture to its portfolio of retail categories.

The first new Noel Leeming store with furniture opens today in Manukau, and another is set to open at The Hub in Botany Downs on October 3rd.

According to Statistics New Zealand the furniture retail category in New Zealand was worth $815 million dollars in 2001 and is experiencing double digit growth this year.

Peter Halkett, Chief Executive Officer of Pacific Retail Group, says the Company will leverage the successful and established Noel Leeming brand to gain a slice of the profitable furniture market.

“We have designed a unique store environment, unlike any other in New Zealand because we are presenting appliances and furniture differently, but still as one entity, one brand.

“Pacific Retail Group has a proven track record in retail and has shown a commitment to innovation, growth and meeting New Zealand consumers’ needs. All the expertise we have developed on award-winning brands such as Big Byte (winner of the 2002 Marketing Magazine retail award), Noel Leeming, Living & Giving and Bond & Bond will be directed to making our new furniture offering a winner for PRG,” says Halkett.

“PRG is a strong business, with a powerful brand portfolio, great cash flow, and excellent growth prospects,” he added. “This two-store launch of a new concept reflects our approach to expanding our business base. We identify an opportunity, invest in developing a high quality scalable business model and then roll it out. We plan to use some of the proceeds from the Secured Capital Notes issue, currently with investors, to support the opportunities for growth represented by this new category.”

Halkett says the stores have a distinct Kiwi flavour in their design and merchandising, with the majority of the products manufactured in New Zealand although some, such as the Italian leather lounge suites, are imported.

The new stores will stock beds and bed linen and lounge, dining room, home office and outdoor furniture. They will also stock occasional furniture (coffee tables) as well as recliners, sofa beds, futons, rugs, lamps, mirrors, prints, cushions and throws.

The stores will display a New Zealand furniture range unique to Noel Leeming. PRG has also formed an exclusive partnership with Maurice Kain who specialise in upholstery and will offer 115 fabric options for furniture coverings.

A total of 30 new jobs are being created to support the two new stores. The company plans to open up to 20 new stores with furniture over the next five years.

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