Warehouse closing to public at end of month

Restructuring under way; pictured, The Warehouse at Broadway, in Dunedin. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
The Warehouse in Maclaggan St, Dunedin will shut its doors to the public at the end of this month to become a "dark store" and will probably close fully in July next year.

The Warehouse had proposed the move to an online store in July and consulted staff about it.

"Following our earlier proposal and after consultation with our team, today we confirmed our Dunedin Central store will close to the public on 30 August, 2020," The Warehouse chief executive Pejman Okhovat said.

"Over the next year, the store will be used to fulfil online orders which have become increasingly popular. Customers will also have the option to pick up click-and-collect orders from the store."

The Warehouse did not say what would happen to the store after a year.

The Otago Daily Times understands The Warehouse’s proposal said it would shut the Dunedin online store in July 2021 and move to an "online hub" in Christchurch.

Dunedin Warehouse staff were given information packs yesterday explaining the decision.

First Union organiser Sonja Mitchell said staff had a raised a lot of questions in the consultation process about the decision to move to an online store.

They were "questioning what appeared to be an ideological rather than evidence-based move away from local, face-to-face service to ... online hubs in large urban areas", she said.

They were also not given information about what redeployment opportunities there would be, she said.

One worker described closing the store as a "kick in the guts".

"I went into retail years ago knowing that [it] isn’t all that, but I stayed because it was a safety net. I could look after my kids. Having security taken from you is gutting."

All of the current 42 staff working at the store would be redeployed at the new online store "and we will also be hiring additional people from the Dunedin community", Mr Okhovat said.

"We also expect to recruit for further roles in the lead-up to Christmas."

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