Central Otago businesses set to close

Hallensteins Alexandra and Central Foods are set to close their doors and Hirequip Alexandra may follow.

Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie said he was not aware of the particular circumstances surrounding the closures of the businesses but said the hardest-hit sectors in "these tough economic times are construction and retail", and businesses need to "look at the areas where they may not get the turnover they need".

Hallensteins spokesman Glen Hunter said the closing of the Alexandra store was "purely a strategic move" and the company would do what it could to look after Alexandra residents who had been loyal for the last four decades.

"We need to look at the bigger picture and close the smaller [businesses] to open the bigger. We need to take into account population.

"We are going to open a new, bigger store in Queenstown."

Hallensteins would close its Alexandra outlet on August 20, but customers would be able to shop at the online store which offered free delivery, Mr Hunter said.

"Online is the way to go, especially in regional areas. It is such an easy way to shop."

Hallensteins in Alexandra employed one full-time worker and one part-time.

It is understood Central Foods will close its Alexandra and Dunedin branches tomorrow, and that staff were given only three days' notice they would be out of work.

It was understood Central Foods employed about 30 staff over the two branches.

Attempts to reach Central Foods director Jeff Vessey were unsuccessful.

Hirequip Alexandra branch manager Neville Jennings said he could not comment until after a meeting today at which staff would learn the future of the branch.


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