Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


H&J Smith Group Sets Out Proposal To Secure The Long-term Future Of Its Retail Division

To secure its long-term future, the H&J Smith Group is proposing to reduce the size of its retail division.

The H&J Smith Retail Division is the general merchandise division of the H&J Smith Group. It comprises six H&J Smith department stores, two Outdoor stores, Paper Plus Invercargill and the Take Note store in Gore, which operate throughout Otago and Southland.

Managing Director, Jason Smith, says the company has been significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and now needs to consider options for managing its business through what is anticipated to be a long and slow economic recovery.

“Our retail division has been grappling with increasing wage and compliance costs, issues around store size and scale, difficulties securing supply, new entrants to the NZ market and the increasing dominance of multinational chains. None of which is dissimilar to the well-documented challenges facing department stores around the globe.

“We also have an ageing store network in need of capital expenditure to upgrade and modernise to meet future customer needs, which isn’t prudent given the ongoing uncertainty post-Covid.

“It’s against this backdrop, and a firm desire to continue to operate sustainably well into the future, that we are proposing to close or reduce in size all but our flagship H&J Smith department store in Invercargill, including Paper Plus and Outdoor Invercargill, and our H&J Smith department store at Remarkables Park in Queenstown.

“H&J Smith has been in operation for 120 years. To be here for 120 more, it’s now very clear we need a long-term view.

“In considering all our options, we believe that to secure a viable future is to reduce our store network and consolidate our operations back to our home base in Invercargill, as and when our lease commitments allow.

“Our lease commitments mean there will need to be a programme of change occurring over a period of time. During this period, there may need to be further adjustments to our strategy,” says Jason Smith.

Under the proposal the H&J Smith stores in Dunedin, Mosgiel, Balclutha and Te Anau would all close, while H&J Smith in Gore would reduce in size, and the Take Note store in Gore would relocate. The Armoury Store in Dunedin and Outdoor World at Remarkables Park, Queenstown, owned by the H&J Smith Group, would also close. Approximately 175 staff are affected.

Closure or reduction timings at each store may occur from August 2020 through February 2021, however details will be confirmed as part of the proposal process. Staff will be kept fully informed.

“I want to acknowledge all our staff, customers and suppliers who are impacted by this proposal.

“It’s been a particularly difficult couple of months for our staff with the challenges of Covid-19 affecting how we deliver service to our customers. They’re at the forefront of our minds as we work our way through this difficult process as quickly as possible to minimise further uncertainty for them.

“We’ve held face to face meetings in every store to present our staff with a summary of where we find ourselves and to outline the proposed changes we feel are required to reset our business for the future,” says Jason Smith.

The proposal is now under consideration, with a final decision to be made in early June.

The other businesses operated by the H & J Smith Group, Mitre 10 MEGA in Invercargill and Queenstown and Laser Electrical in Invercargill are not included in this proposal.

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Rio Tinto: Rio Tinto Announces Plans To Close Tiwai Point Smelter

Rio Tinto has just announced that it will wind down New Zealand Aluminium Smelters - the Tiwai Point smelter - saying the business is no longer viable. More>>


Freight: New Report On Auckland Port Relocation

The Government has released a major new report on the options for relocating the Port of Auckland’s freight operations while deferring any decision on the issue. More>>


Chartered Accountants: COVID-19 Fails To Knock Kiwi Investor Confidence, But More Disclosure Wanted

Three months of COVID-19 lockdown and investment turmoil has done little to knock confidence in New Zealand capital markets and listed companies with overall investor sentiment very similar to 2019, an investor survey held in mid June shows. However, ... More>>


Taxation: Black-Market Tobacco Sidesteps $287 Million In Excise Tax

Year-on-year increases in consumption of illicit tobacco in New Zealand have seen illegal trade swell to 11.5% of the total market. If consumed legally, illicit products would have netted the Government $287 million in excise tax during 2019. Independent ... More>>


Energy Sector: Meridian Spilled Water To Hike Electricity Prices - Authority Ruling

The Electricity Authority has found that generator Meridian Energy manipulated the power market, costing consumers about $80 million. More>>


XE Data Update: RBNZ Official Cash Rate Decision

The RBNZ will keep the Official Cash Rate (OCR) at 0.25%. T he key points in the RBNZ statement are: RBNZ keeps the OCR unchanged at 0.25% Maintain the LSAP (large scale asset purchase) at NZD$60 billion. Committee prepared to use additional monetary ... More>>


Electricity: Kiwis Ignore Promise Of Cheaper Power

Electric Kiwi and Flick Electric Co are joint winners of Canstar Blue’s award for Most Satisfied Customers | Electricity Providers From putting on an extra layer – rather than turning on a heater – to turning off lights and choosing the energy-saving ... More>>


Electricity: Transmission Pricing For A Low Carbon Future

The Electricity Authority has decided on new guidelines for transmission pricing. James Stevenson-Wallace, Chief Executive of the Electricity Authority says the new guidelines will deliver significant benefits to consumers, through lower electricity ... More>>


NIWA: The Climate Record That Keeps Getting Broken

Among the multitude of New Zealand climate statistics there is one record that continues to be broken month after month. Since January 2017 there has not been one month that recorded a below average nationwide temperature, according to NIWA’s seven station ... More>>


Govt: Extended Loan Scheme Keeps Business Afloat

Small businesses are getting greater certainty about access to finance with an extension to the interest-free cashflow loan scheme to the end of the year. The Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme has already been extended once, to 24 July. Revenue and Small ... More>>


Science: 2019 Prime Minister’s Science Prizes Announced

The 2019 Prime Minister’s Science Prizes have been announced in a digital livestream event today. The Prizes recognise the impact of science on New Zealanders’ lives, celebrate the achievements of current scientists and encourage scientists of the ... More>>


RNZ: Fuel, Alcohol Costs To Go Up From Today

The increase today in the taxes on fuel, road user charges and alcohol is being called a tone-deaf move. More>>


Stardome Observatory: Young Kiwi Astro-Photographer Shoots For The Stars

Matariki by Josh Kirkley. The stars are aligning for up-and-coming Auckland-based astro-photographer Josh Kirkley (Kāi Tahu). During lockdown, one of his images was picked up by NASA and shared on the space agency’s Instagram to its 59.2 million ... More>>

DCANZ: Time For EU To Commit To A Level Playing Field For Trade

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) has welcomed New Zealand Trade Minister David Parker’s statement that it is unacceptable for New Zealand exporters to continue facing an ‘unlevel playing field’ in the EU. Details leaked ... More>>


Potatoes New Zealand: Protecting NZ Fries As Part Of PNZ Pandemic Recovery & Transformation Plan

Potatoes New Zealand has met with Minister Faafoi this week to discuss investigating the potential importation of heavily discounted frozen potato chips into New Zealand. With MBIE’s support we are undertaking an investigation to gather evidence of the ... More>>


New Zealand Government: Supporting Kiwi Businesses To Resolve Rent Disputes

The Government will legislate to ensure businesses that suffered as a result of the COVID-19 response will get help to resolve disputes over commercial rent issues, Justice Minister Andrew Little announced today. More>>