H&J Smith acquires Arthur Barnett

Arthur_Barnett_Main_Entrance_angle_Meridian_Ground_Level_2013H&J Smith has purchased the trading assets of the historic Arthur Barnett department store in Meridian Mall, Dunedin.

The transaction brings together two icons in the retail industry to establish a strong trading group dominating the Otago and Southland market.

H&J Smith says all staff have been offered ongoing employment, with no redundancies expected.

The employees of both companies have been advised of the sale, with the emphasis being on business as usual to provide customers with a seamless transition through the business handover.

Arthur Barnett director, Mike Coburn, said the sale process came about because the store’s 20 year lease at the Meridian is coming up for renewal in 2017.

H&J Smith MD, Jason Smith, said the store will remain stay in the Meridian mall as a key anchor tenant, with the company securing a new 1-year lease in the George St complex.

“There will be a three month transition period before the store integrates into H&J Smith,” said Smith.

“The new store’s product range has not been finalised and will be contingent on understanding the business and the requirements of customers.”

The majority shareholder of Arthur Barnett is Fraser Smith Holdings.

The directors of Fraser Smith Holdings are Sir Julian Smith and his brother, Nick Smith, the owners of Allied Press, publisher of the Otago Daily Times.

Trevor Scott is the chairman of Arthur Barnett, and his interests hold the remaining shareholding in Arthur Barnett.

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