Staff at The Warehouse, Noel Leeming and Warehouse Stationery at the Northwood Super centre told of proposal to close stores

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Jul 19, 2023 |

Staff at The Warehouse, Noel Leeming, and Warehouse Stationery, located at the Northwood Super Centre in Belfast, Christchurch, have been left shocked by a proposal to close all three stores.

In a series of separate meetings held at 8AM, management informed employees that the decision to shut down the stores was due to inadequate profitability.

The Warehouse Group owns all three brands. This development marks the second closure of a Warehouse store in Christchurch within a year.

Concerns over the lack of transparency emerged as staff felt they were being kept in the dark about the rationale behind the closures.

First Union Southern Regional Secretary Paul Watson, who attended one of the meetings, shared details about the consultation process presented by the company.

Staff were given a week to provide feedback on the closure proposal, after which management would make a final decision based on the received input.

Watson expressed disappointment at the vague nature of the announcement, stating, “the announcement that was presented today really gave little detail of the reasons for the closure.”

He further noted that one employee highlighted the premature nature of the decision, considering the projected population growth in the Northwood area.

According to the Christchurch City Council, the region was expected to be the second-fastest-growing area in terms of population.

The closure would significantly impact the workforce and the wider community.

Approximately 68 workers were employed at The Warehouse, while Warehouse Stationery and Noel Leeming have around eight to ten and twelve employees, respectively.

Some employees at The Warehouse have dedicated over two decades to the store since its opening, further underscoring the emotional toll of the closure.

Local councillor Aaron Keown expressed sadness at the news and voiced concern about the economic climate, stating, “I’m very saddened by today’s news.

The stores have lovely staff, and I hope it’s not a sign of struggling economic conditions and things to come. I have no doubt the workers will find other employment, but it’s a very unsettling time for people in our community.”

Highlighting the challenges faced by businesses, Leeann Watson, CEO of the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce, acknowledged the tough conditions prevailing in the current market.

She cited inflationary pressures, rising interest rates, and falling demand as significant hurdles faced by businesses.

She encouraged any businesses experiencing uncertainty to reach out to the Chamber for support and assistance.

Ian Carter, The Warehouse Group Chief Store Operations Officer said “today we shared a proposal with our teams at The Warehouse, Warehouse Stationery and Noel Leeming in Belfast looking to close the stores in line with the upcoming lease-end in September.

“Over the past few years, we have seen customer shopping habits change, with more customers choosing to shop in our stores nearby, including The Warehouse Northlands (Papanui) which includes a Warehouse Stationery, and Noel Leeming Northlink.

“We’re committed to supporting our team during this process and we are currently seeking their feedback.

“Should the proposal go ahead, we will support our team with redeployment options across our Christchurch store networks. 

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

Have you got a news tip? Get in touch here

got a news tip?