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Shock closure

After 17 years operating in Chapel St, Supercheap Auto closed its doors yesterday. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

Landlord gives retailer 14 days to leave building
Trust gives retailer the boot

Story by Soumya Bhamidipati

Supercheap Auto’s Masterton branch closed yesterday, after lease negotiations with landlord Masterton Trust Lands Trust reached a dead-end.

A spokesperson for the Super Retail Group, which owned the Supercheap franchise, said on Friday that the store-owners had been attempting to agree upon a new lease or extension of

time with the building owners for a few months.
“This week, the Lands Trust requested our Supercheap Auto store close for trade immediately and vacate within 14 days,” the spokesperson said.

“We remain committed to supporting the local community with a Supercheap Auto offering. However, this week’s notice forces us to close our store for an interim period until an alternative site can be sourced.”

One consequence of the immediate closure was the impact on staff members, the spokesperson said.

“If the Lands Trust was able to offer us a time extension, we could enable a smoother transition for our team and customers. We understand the trust is within its rights to take this position. However, we are disappointed that, after a relationship spanning some 17 years, we’ve been unable to have a productive conversation about a short extension to the lease.”

While the spokesperson did not directly confirm whether the closure would result in job losses, they said the organisation would be back in Masterton “as soon as possible to serve our customers”.

The spokesperson had also declined to comment on when staff had been advised of the closure, and when it had most recently hired an employee to work at the branch.

However, when the Times-Age visited the Chapel St store on Friday, one staff member was seen wearing an “in training” badge.

Masterton Trust Lands Trust general manager Andrew Croskery said he could not comment on any commercially sensitive issues, including answering why the store was closing and whether the trust had any future plans for the property.

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