New name and owner for store

H&J Smith Mosgiel manager Andrea McFarlane will continue to run the store when it becomes APT...
H&J Smith Mosgiel manager Andrea McFarlane will continue to run the store when it becomes APT Collections at the end of February. PHOTO: CHRISTINE O’CONNOR
Mosgiel's H&J Smith store is to reopen at the end of February, under new ownership and a new name.

The lease on the store, in Gordon Rd, has been taken over by Christchurch company Longbeach Holdings Ltd.

H&J Smith chief executive officer John Green said the store would cease trading as H&J Smith on January 30 — the same day as the department store in Dunedin’s Meridian Mall closes.

"It’s been a smooth and straightforward transaction with a major trading partner.

"Focus has been on providing continuity to the Mosgiel community and availability of the product ranges that come from this supplier."

Mosgiel store manager Andrea McFarlane would continue in her role with the new owners, along with some of her existing team, Mr Green said.

He believed the new owners would also be employing some experienced staff who previously worked in the Dunedin store.

"I’m totally delighted that some of our staff have got jobs to carry on with. That’s continuity for the customer and continuity for the staff, and of course it represents a good opportunity for the new owners to make the most of their new venture."

The Mosgiel store had been particularly successful and the team had done an excellent job in promoting the company and looking after customers, Mr Green said.

"We’re very mindful, as a 120-year-old company, of our mutual reliance and commitment to the community, and so it was not an easy commitment to make to close the store.

"The decision to close was a direct result of the decision to exit the city department store and was no reflection on the Mosgiel community, as support from the community had been outstanding from the time the company established there through to the present.

"Seeing it carry on in the same hands is excellent."

A clearance sale was under way and he expected very little merchandise would be left by January 30.

New owner Longbeach Holdings Ltd was founded in 1976 and its line of business includes the wholesale distribution of clothing and furnishings.

Longbeach Apparel general manager Jane Coleman said the new store would be called APT Collections and would contain ladies’ fashion that was 100% New Zealand designed.

It would be the company’s third New Zealand store under the APT Collections brand, she said. The other two were based in the North Island, in Rotorua and Paraparaumu.

The company was now deciding how many staff the Mosgiel store would need, she said.

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