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Smiths calls it quits

Smiths City is shutting its doors after less than two and a half years in Masterton.

The well-known furniture and whiteware retailer’s last day of trading is expected to be on Sunday, March 19.

A spokesperson for Smiths City said yesterday that the lease for the store was ending in two weeks and Smith City was not going to renew its lease.

Although store employees declined to comment on the development, they were offering in-store closing-down deals yesterday.

Smiths City arrived in Wairarapa to some fanfare in October 2020, creating up to 15 new jobs.

The opening of the store on the corner of Dixon and Bannister streets, formerly occupied by Warehouse Stationery, marked the first time the big box retailer
had been in the region.

At the time, Smiths City chief executive Tony Allison said it had been a deliberate move.

“This is actually the first of our stores where we’ve gone, ‘we like that area, and we really want to be there’.

“We really like the location of the building we’ve got, and the lower North Island, from a regional perspective, made real sense – we just knew it would work.”

The impending Masterton closure is not the first time for Smith City stores. The retailer, founded in 1918 in Christchurch and currently comprising 25 stores nationwide, was sold to investment company Polar Capital in June 2020.

The purchase was accompanied by the reported closure of seven stores, taking the company’s then 29 stores to 22, representing a further drop from a high of 32 in 2018.

Stuff reported in May 2020 that the company said jobs could only be offered to about 75 per cent of Smith City’s then-465 staff.

Bosch Property, who owns the lease on the corner of Dixon and Bannister streets, was not prepared to make a comment about the closure or who would take over the space. Smiths City was contacted yesterday but had not responded by deadline.

Mary Argue
Mary Argue
Mary Argue is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with an interest in justice and the region’s emergency services, regularly covering Masterton District Court, Fire and Emergency and Police.

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