Otago Daily Times

Ware­house could axe up to 950 em­ploy­ees

- JOEY DWYER Business · Greater Auckland · TUI Inventory System · Dunedin · Te Awamutu · Christchurch · New Zealand · First Union · Tokoroa · Birkenhead

AUCK­LAND: Hun­dreds of work­ers at The Ware­house are be­ing made re­dun­dant.

First Union has been told about 600 peo­ple will lose their jobs as a re­sult of a re­struc­tur­ing pro­posed in July — and they ex­pect more in the weeks to come.

The move will af­fect 92 Ware­house stores through­out the coun­try.

First Union spokes­woman

Tali Wil­liams said it had been a roller­coaster ride for work­ers, who were feel­ing ‘‘ab­so­lutely gut­ted’’.

‘‘They’re watch­ing their work­mates around them, their fam­ily, dis­ap­pear, and go off and see what they can find out there. It’s a sad time.

‘‘As far as we’ve been told by the com­pany, and we’re aware, there are prob­a­bly, con­ser­va­tively, about 600 peo­ple who will lose their jobs as part of this process.’’

Ms Wil­liams said they ex­pected more peo­ple to lose their jobs in the weeks to come.

In an NZX an­nounce­ment on June 8, the coun­try’s largest listed re­tail com­pany said it was mov­ing to an ag­ile busi­ness model, which would ‘‘likely see a re­duc­tion of around 100­130 roles’’ in its North­cote head of­fice.

It also planned to close six

The Ware­house, Noel Leem­ing and Ware­house Sta­tionery stores. The stores that face clo­sure in­clude: Noel Leem­ing Hen­der­son Clear­ance Cen­tre and Toko­roa store, The Ware­house Whanga­paraoa, John­sonville and Dunedin Cen­tral stores and the Ware­house Sta­tionery Te Awa­mutu.

This fol­lows ear­lier an­nounce­ments that it would close its Ware­house store in Birken­head in July, and Noel Leem­ing stores in Pa­panui and The Palms in Christchur­ch.

The com­pany said the pro­pos­als could cull up to 950 jobs.

Last week, The Ware­house posted a $44.5 mil­lion profit in the 2020 fi­nan­cial year.

The com­pany, which op­er­ates The Ware­house, Ware­house Sta­tionery, Noel Leem­ing, Tor­pedo7 and TheMar­ket.co.nz would have made a loss with­out the $67.7 mil­lion it re­ceived in wage sub­si­dies.

It will not pay out a div­i­dend de­spite its net cash po­si­tion of $168.1 mil­lion. Its au­dited re­sults are due to­mor­row.

The Ware­house Group last week de­fended lay­ing off hun­dreds of work­ers just months af­ter it took the wage sub­sidy.

It came un­der fire from both main po­lit­i­cal party lead­ers dur­ing a lead­ers de­bate but jus­ti­fied the re­dun­dan­cies, say­ing its sales had plunged 67% or $265 mil­lion dur­ing the na­tion­wide lock­down pe­riod.

— The New Zealand Herald

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