H&J Smith confirm store closures are coming

After floating the idea in May and having been impacted significantly by the COVID-19 pandemic, department store H&J Smith has confirmed it will close its Te Anau and Balclutha stores, as well as downsize its Gore location. 

Additionally, Outdoor World at Remarkables Park in Queenstown will be shuttered. 

“We’ve carefully considered the options available and the feedback received and remain of the firm belief that our original proposal to reduce our store network is our best and only viable option,” said H&J Smith’s managing director Jason Smith. 

“It’s not a decision made lightly [and] we sincerely regret the impact these decisions will have on our employees and the communities we operate in.”

According to H&J Smith the business has struggled with increasing wage and compliance costs, an aging store network in need of capital expenditure, and increased competition from multinational chains and new entrants to the NZ market. 

The stores at Te Anau and Balclutha will close on the 31 of July, and will impact 17 employees. Outdoor World will close at the end of August and will affect 10 employees. 

“If there is an opportunity to redeploy staff in ongoing operations, this will be considered for displaced staff for whom this is a practical option,” Smith said. 

All employees will be paid wages, holidays and redundancy payments as per employment agreements, and those that do not have redundancy entitlements will instead receive a good faith payment. 

The fate of H&J Smith stores in Dunedin and Mosgiel are yet to be confirmed by the business, and it is investigating options moving forward. 

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