Ballantynes satellite store to fill H&J Smith’s shoes

The closure of H&J Smith was a reason for the opening of a satellite Ballantynes store in Invercargill, the chief executive of the Christchurch-based store said.

Ballantynes chief executive Maria O’Halloran said the company had moved quickly once H&J Smith announced it was closing its Invercargill store.

"Part of our business strategy in recent years, we call retail diversification, has always been where we can take the brand geographically.

"I guess with the sad news from H&Js to exit the market we just reviewed our location and prioritised Invercargill as a result," she said.

"It’s the long-standing relationship with the H&J Smith team too.

"We’ve always worked really collaboratively and shared information.

"I feel, based on that, we hope we’ve got it right and if we haven’t we will respond to what the market tells us they want."

The Ballantynes Select store will be based in the new Invercargill Central development and is expected to open in March.

The store will be stocking local and international brands.

"Our customers have been asking for a physical presence in Invercargill for some time, and many have been travelling to our Canterbury stores for decades, so it feels really special to be able to make this happen.

"We know the brands that resonate with them.

"They are key anchor brands that we know customers love."

Five new staff would be employed by the company.

She hoped to confirm placements before Christmas.

By Toni McDonald