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NZ retail landscape faces shifts as Smith & Caughey’s closes and The Warehouse realigns strategy

The Warehouse news
Image – thewarehousegroup.co.nz.

NZ’s retail sector is undergoing significant changes as Smith & Caughey’s, a 144-year-old retail icon, announced plans to shut down, impacting around 250 jobs following a dramatic 40% drop in in-store sales over the last five years.

The decline is part of a broader trend affecting traditional retailers, exacerbated by the economic shifts post-COVID-19, leading to unforeseen challenges within the market, according to a report in state media.

Chris Wilkinson from First Retail Group highlighted the unprecedented nature of the current retail environment, noting the closure of long-standing stores and continuous market disruptions that have reshaped consumer expectations and business operations.

Simultaneously, The Warehouse Group is navigating through its own set of challenges, marked by the abrupt exit of its CEO Nick Grayston and an ongoing search for his replacement amidst financial struggles, including a recent half-year loss of $23 million.

The company, once a pioneer in making consumer goods accessible at low prices, now faces stiff competition and a shifting focus within the retail sector. The current retail landscape demands a hybrid approach, blending online and in-store experiences to meet evolving consumer preferences towards more experiential and less materialistic engagements. This strategic pivot is crucial as The Warehouse aims to redefine its brand identity and operational model to maintain relevance and profitability in a rapidly changing market.

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  1. The powers that be don’t like retail stores because you can walk right in and buy something with cash and that is a transaction they cannot monitor and that is what the hate the most. Physical cash is king as long as we are allowed to keep it, once it’s gone we are all screwed.


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