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EziBuy Celebrates 30 Years

Media release, 9 June 2008

EziBuy Celebrates 30 Years

One of New Zealand’s business success stories is celebrating 30 years this month – it has come a long way from a one page black and white mail-out to local businesses and community groups to become Australasia’s largest catalogue company.

EziBuy now produces more than 40 catalogues each year that are mailed to over half a million people in New Zealand and Australia.

The company is the largest fashion clothing and home décor multi-channel retailer in Australasia. It is a New Zealand-owned private company with a turnover in excess of $260 million and employs more than 1,000 staff.

The first chapter of the EziBuy story starts in Palmerston North in 1978 with a call from Peter Gillespie to his brother Gerard [who was on his honeymoon at the time] with a question that would change their lives and contribute millions to the economy of New Zealand.

“Do you want to come and run a mail order catalogue company?”

And the chapters following that question are full of great stories about loyal staff and customers who have grown with the company as it has grown over the past 30 years. Five years after starting EziBuy, they were joined by Matt Toynbee who the Gillespie brothers acknowledge for his huge contribution to the company over the years.

When asked the always-repeated question of what has contributed to your success, Gerard Gillespie remains humble and adamant that it is a simple formula.

“Look after your staff. Look after your customers. Always do what is right. Pay your bills.”

“When we started out all we wanted was an income as good as the average wage and to be able to pay our bills. We had seen the success and growth of mail order catalogue companies overseas and truly believed that this concept had the potential to grow and be successful in the New Zealand market.”

Gerard and Peter Gillespie believe that being innovative and prepared to give new ideas a go is crucial – but with caution.

“Always understand the downside of any decision and ask yourself, can you live with that if it happened? Ask people around you for a view, no matter what their position or role. Be big enough to take their views and consider them. Then show leadership and make a decision.”

EziBuy is now planning for the next chapter and Chief Executive Mary Devine aims to boost turnover from $260 million to in excess of $300 million over the next three years, thanks largely to the potential market in Australia; the company is buoyed by the flourishing Internet sales that EziBuy brands are already achieving across the Tasman.

Following its purchase of womenswear retail chain Max Fashions late last year, EziBuy will introduce Max to the Australian market in 2009 through Internet retailing and catalogue sales, and probably a small number of flagship stores.

Further areas of growth for EziBuy in both New Zealand and Australia will be achieved through extending the niche markets. As well as the four main womenswear brands – Capture, Emerge, Urban and Grace Hill – there are also menswear and home catalogues. The company also owns the fast growing plus size brand, Sara, and Profile – a corporate clothing company and has a 50% shareholding in JK Kids, a nationwide children’s clothing chain.

Mary says that the company’s successful evolution over the last 30 years is attributable to the culture and customer service ethos that Peter and Gerard have built in the business. This, combined with the multi-channel strategy and opportunity for growth across the Tasman, breeds success.


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