H&J open, Kmart still closed

Safety first ... Excited to open the doors of H&J Smith to customers today is chief executive...
Safety first ... Excited to open the doors of H&J Smith to customers today is chief executive John Green. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN
Dunedin's H&J Smith department store will reopen to the public today, after advice was sought to ensure it was safe for staff and customers to return.

Kmart will remain closed for at least another week as strengthening work continues.

Last week, the two stores did not reopen to the public under Level 2 after a report revealed the Meridian Mall had an expected seismic performance of less than 34% of the new building standard.

H & J Smith chief executive John Green said it was important to fulfil legal and moral obligations for customers before deciding to reopen.

‘‘We received the report and felt we needed to check, but we got assurance that it would be fine to reopen.

The store had been closed to the public since March 24, Mr Green said.

‘‘We’re thrilled. We couldn’t confidently reopen until we sought advice, so it’s great to now be able to do so.’’

A Kmart spokeswoman said it was made aware that during a routine seismic assessment it was found that strengthening upgrades were needed at the mall. The store would remain closed until about May 28.

‘‘ ... we have taken the immediate step to keep our Dunedin store temporarily closed for a two-week period while we work through developments and undertake the necessary upgrades that are required with Meridian Mall.’’


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