End of an era for homeware retailer

A Dunedin homeware retailer says a "very challenging" economic climate has forced them to close their doors, and warns the challenges for business are far from over.

After 10 years of service, the owners of Storage Box Dunedin announced on social media their Cumberland St store would be shutting its doors.

The store’s closing down sale began today and the business was expected to close by the end of May.

Rachael Jefferson, who owns the business with husband Lee Jefferson, said the decision was made after carefully considering all the options.

Mrs Jefferson said the closure was the end of an era for their store.

"We will miss our wonderful staff, many have been with us for over five years, as well as our loyal customers."

Storage Box Dunedin co-owner Rachael Jefferson prepares for the store’s closing down sale. PHOTO:...
Storage Box Dunedin co-owner Rachael Jefferson prepares for the store’s closing down sale. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
The business environment had been extremely challenging since the Covid-19 pandemic and the store had experienced a number of events that could not have been foreseen, Mrs Jefferson said.

Transportation and labour costs had risen over the past few years, along with other costs across the board.

"The current economic climate is very challenging especially for the small businesses," Mrs Jefferson said.

"The reward for the risk that we have to take is no longer there for us.

"The coming year is shaping up to be extremely challenging and I believe there will be limited discretionary spending."

While other stores stocked lines of their products, Mrs Jefferson said "no-one else" had the full range of organisational products.

She said they had become acquainted with many loyal customers and it would be sad to say goodbye.

She said it was sad another locally-owned and operated business was closing.

"But with the current situation I can only see more of this on the horizon."

The latest economic forecasts from Infometrics may back up her prediction.

Infometrics expects the annual GDP and private consumption to briefly turn negative mid-2024. They predict slower growth than initially expected will persist until the second half of next year.

Infometrics chief forecaster Gareth Kiernan said the economy was being hit harder than what had been expected a few months ago.

"It’s probably another 12 months before it will feel like the worst of the downturn is behind us.

"Both households and businesses will need to keep a close eye on costs and spending until mid-2025," Mr Kiernan said.