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New distribution centre for Pacific Brands

New distribution centre for Pacific Brands

Christchurch-based Pacific Brands is to consolidate its distribution activities into a single state-of-the-art centre in the Auckland industrial suburb of East Tamaki.

The clothing manufacturer, marketing and distribution company presently operates three warehouses in Auckland, Palmerston North and Christchurch. Leases on the Auckland and Christchurch facilities are about to expire.

The replacement 6,000 sq. m. distribution centre is being purpose-built and will house modern scan picking technology. It will result in annual savings to the company of more than half a million dollars.

The new centre will warehouse Pacific Brands clothing, footwear and Dunlop Sports products and will cost "hundreds of thousands of dollars".

The company expects to have the new centre in operation by early 2004. The existing warehouses will close soon after. Staff will be offered employment in Auckland and at other Pacific Brands offices.

General manager Mark Jordan says the move will bring the company's distribution operations closer to its customers.

"Brands like Berlei, Jockey, Bonds and Rio are key products for retailers such as Farmers and The Warehouse so it is important to be close to our customers and that's in Auckland.

"East Tamaki also has a well-developed industrial infrastructure and is close to transport so this move will help us to remain competitive."

The new distribution centre will carry about 18,000 SKUs (the average supermarket stocks about 30,000) and will have a staff of about 35.

Mr Jordan says consultation with staff members about the move has been underway since March.

"We have set up a task force comprising staff and outside consultants to manage the process," Mr Jordan says. "We expect all current staff to have jobs until after the new facility in Auckland is open.

"At the moment we are working on the internal structures and job descriptions but the intention is to retain as many jobs as possible."

Mr Jordan says the new centre's modern 'scan pick' technology enables staff to pick products and electronically record distribution by bar code using a scanner and a lap top computer.

While the technology is not unique, it is modern and efficient and will result in substantial savings for the company, he says.

He says there are no plans to shift the company's head office. A new three lease has recently been signed and current staff members know the industry while the Christchurch region has a significant apparel cluster.

"While we are an Australian-based company we do understand the unique nature of the New Zealand market," Mr Jordan says. "And that means we are keen to invest in New Zealand operations where we can prove we are competitive."

He says the company made a specific decision to centralise its head office, sales and marketing operations in Christchurch when it purchased its various New Zealand businesses in 2000.

It has since increased head office staff numbers from 25 to 45 and the company is investing in new machinery in the sock factory in Christchurch which employs 73 people.

About Pacific Brands As custodian in New Zealand of such high profile brands as Berlei, Canterbury, Jockey, Holeproof, Wonderbra, Legalong, Rio, Slazenger and Bonds, Pacific Brands is the market leader in the underwear and hosiery categories. Australian-based, the company has international sales of NZ$1.9 billion and employs 7,500 people. Pacific Brands is owned by an investment consortium headed by CVC Asia Pacific and Catalyst Investment Managers who purchased the businesses from Pacific Dunlop in November 2001.

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