The Warehouse Group

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The Warehouse Group
Formerly
The Warehouse Limited
Public
Traded asNZX: WHS
IndustryRetail (department & discount)
FoundedNorth Shore, New Zealand
1982; 38 years ago (1982) (Store)
1991; 29 years ago (1991) (Group)
FounderStephen Tindall Edit this on Wikidata
HeadquartersNorthcote, Auckland
Key people
RevenueIncrease NZ$3,071,357,000 (2018–19)[1]
Increase NZ$102,943,000 (2018-19)[1]
Increase NZ$94,064,000 (2016–17)[1]
Total assetsNZ$1,113,852,000 (2017)[2]
Total equityNZ$486,389,000 (2017)[2]
Owner
[3]
Number of employees
12,000 [4]
Divisions
  • Group Sourcing Support
  • Insight Traders
  • Schooltex
  • International Brands
  • CES
  • Big Bucket Deals
  • Third Party Sourcing
  • SRO & HK Sourcing
  • Bargin Sourcing
[5][6]
Subsidiaries
Websitewww.thewarehousegroup.co.nz

The Warehouse Group also referred to as TWG,[7] was founded by Stephen Tindall in 1982, and is the largest retail group operating in New Zealand. The Warehouse Group (TWG) is a group that consists of The Warehouse, Warehouse Stationery, Noel Leeming, Torpedo7, and TheMarket.

History[edit]

"The Warehouse" logo used up to 2006. No stores in New Zealand use this version anymore. All stores in Australia used this logo until they were renamed in 2008.

The first Warehouse group store opened in North Shore, Auckland in 1982.[8][9] In 1994, Warehouse was added to the New Zealand Exchange, under the symbol TWH.[10] In 1996, a distribution centre opened on the North Island.[9] In 2000, it was added to the NZSE 10 index. Also in 2000, the group acquired Clint's Crazy Bargains and Silly Solly's in Australia.[11]

In 2003, the Warehouse Australia brand was launched. In 2005, a lab store launched in the Hamilton suburb of Te Rapa. That same year, the Warehouse brand was relaunched with new lower-case logo,[12] announced its plan to enter the liquor market and that it would end operations in Australia by Christmas.[13] In 2005, Warehouse Australia was sold to Catalyst Investment Managers and Castle Harlan Australian Mezzanine Partners for A$92 million (NZ$99m).[11]

In 2006, The Warehouse began selling alcoholic beverages in selected stores and launched a new set of stores branded 'The Warehouse Extra' at Sylvia Park, Auckland, which included full grocery as well as a pharmacy, bakery and photo processing.[citation needed] In 2007, the company celebrated its 25th birthday and marked the occasion by releasing 13,000 balloons, causing concerns from environmentalists.[14][15] In 2008, Warehouse Extra stores were converted to the standard format.[citation needed] In 2009, the first smaller-concept store, The Warehouse Local, opens in Mosgiel.[16] In 2010, The Warehouse opened a store in Gisborne, the first large format store since the opening of The Warehouse Sylvia Park in 2006.[17] In 2012, The Warehouse ceased its instore pharmacy offer. Later that year, The Warehouse announces it is buying electronics retailer The Noel Leeming Group for $65 million.[18][19]

In 2013, TW Group holds Click Madness, a one-day online only sale across all brands in the group. Also in 2013, TW Group Purchases Torpedo7, No. 1 Fitness, Shotgun Supplements, Shop HQ (pet.co.nz & baby.co.nz), and Insight Traders. In 2014, TW Group Buys R&R Sport and SchoolTex.[20] That same year, the TW Group launches The Warehouse Group Financial Services after the takeover of Diners Club NZ.[21] In 2014, the group purchased the New Zealand-based branches of Australian retail chain The Good Guys, turning their five NZ based stores into their various retail brands.[22] In July 2017, TW Group announced that it intended to sell the Financial Services division, acquired in 2014, to SBS Bank for a reported $18 million by September.[23][24] In 2018, TWG purchased the Appliance Shed brand to create the Noel Leeming Clearance Centre brand.[25] In 2019, TWG launched TheMarket, a new online marketplace selling local and international brands.[26]

In June 2020, the Warehouse Group announced that it would be laying off 1,080 jobs as a result of the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in New Zealand. The company also announced that it would be closing down six stores including The Warehouse stores in Whangaparaoa, Johnsonville, Dunedin, the Warehouse Stationery in Te Awamutu, and the Noel Leeming stores in Henderson and Tokoroa.[27][28]

Business[edit]

The Warehouse operates discount retail department stores selling a broad range of non-grocery and grocery products. As of January 2015, The Warehouse employed over 12,000 people in New Zealand.[4] The Warehouse's corporate headquarters are located in North Shore, New Zealand.

Apart from its 240+ retail locations, it operates 2 distribution centres located in Wiri and in Rolleston, New Zealand as well as 13 online stores.[4]

In addition to its own operations, it also owns various brand names that are located within the stores. It has gardening facilities located in Auckland, Hamilton and in Christchurch. Along with its gardening brand Just, it also operates nearly 30 "in-company" brands.

The Warehouse is publicly traded on the New Zealand Stock Exchange with the security code WHS (TWH was used previously).[29]

Criticism[edit]

In May 2007 to mark the 25th Birthday of The Warehouse the company released 13,000 balloons from Dairy Flat. This sparked concerns from the Department of Conservation and other environmentalists as the balloons have been known to endanger wildlife.[14][15]

In December 2009 it was announced that The Warehouse staff would be taking industrial action due to issues with staff having their hours extended to 50-hour weeks in the lead up to Christmas and staff having to work late at night.[30]

In December 2018, Noel Leeming was fined $200,000 for misleading consumers about their rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) following a Commerce Commission prosecution. Noel Leeming was convicted on eight charges under the Fair Trading Act.[31]

In March 2020, the Warehouse Group drew criticism when its directors prematurely announced that they were an "essential service" during the COVID-19 pandemic without consulting with the Government. The company faces a fine of NZ$500,000 if it is found to have breached the New Zealand Exchange's disclosure rules or is found to have profited from a rise in its share price stemming from the announcement. The company subsequently shut down its brands for the duration of the four-week lockdown with all staff being given full paid leave.[32][33][34]

In early June 2020, the Warehouse Group was criticised by First Union coordinator Kate Davis for allegedly not consulting employees about a plan to lay off 1,080 workers and close six stores as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.[35]

Return Policy[edit]

The company operates a comprehensive returns policy. A "60 day money back guarantee" policy (returns accepted for any reason) is available on most products, excluding underwear, pre-recorded media and perishable products.[36]

Australian Expansion[edit]

In 2000, the company entered the Australian retail market. It acquired the Clint's Crazy Bargains and Silly Solly's retail chains. At the time of purchase, those chains had around 117 stores.[37]

In 2003 the company built a $33 million (AUD) distribution centre in Queensland, to service the country. Later that year, the company introduced its Tui and Tolas inventory management systems from New Zealand.

As of 2005, the Australian arm was still under-performing. Sales for 2005 were at $518.8 million (AUD), compared with $567.3 million (AUD) in 2004. The Warehouse Group Limited announced in November 2005 that it had entered into a conditional agreement to sell The Warehouse Australia business to Catalyst Investment Managers and its parent PPM Capital Limited (together, Catalyst) and Castle Harlan Australian Mezzanine Partners, acting on behalf of the CHAMP I and CHAMP II funds (CHAMP) for A$92 million (NZ$99m). The new entity was known as Australian Discount Retail (ADR). As part of the transaction, The Warehouse Australia's Sydney Head Office would be sold to Investec Wentworth Specialised Property Trust. While the effective date for the transaction was to be 27 November 2005, completion of the sale was expected in early 2006 and was subject to normal regulatory approvals.

At its formation ADR also purchased the discount store operations of Miller's Retail, including the Go-Lo, Crazy Clark's and Chickenfeed chains. There were 335 such stores at the time of sale.

After the sale of the Australian operation, Warehouse stores were renamed Sam's Warehouse.[38]

The Warehouse Extra Hypermarkets[edit]

In June 2006, "The Warehouse Extra" opened at Sylvia Park, Auckland. It was the first of a planned chain of hypermarkets, at 135,000 sq ft (12,500 sq m). In a similar fashion to the Wal-Mart Supercenters of the United States, the foodmarket department aisles are placed at a perpendicular angle to the general merchandise. It is the first store to feature an in-store bakery, pharmacy and café, and instead of the usual tall industrial shelving, a more conventional store shelving system has been used. The store also features a lot less red than in traditional stores, but the familiar concrete floor still exists. The next branches of "The Warehouse Extra" were in Whangarei and Te Rapa in Hamilton. In October 2008 The Warehouse announced that they will be canning "The Warehouse Extra" format with stores reverting to the more traditional style of store coming months.[39] There were four of The Warehouse Extra in Auckland (Albany, Manukau, Sylvia Park and Westgate). Today "The Warehouse Extra" brand is used on larger traditional stores nationwide, with many existing large stores have taken on "The Warehouse Extra" branding such as those in Lyall Bay (Wellington), Riccarton (Christchurch), South Dunedin and Palmerston North. Stores carrying "The Warehouse Extra" brand are typically larger, open later and carry a greater range than regular stores.

The Warehouse Local[edit]

Street view of Mosgiel's Warehouse Local store

On Thursday 23 July 2009, The Warehouse Group opened the first of its smaller-concept stores, The Warehouse Local, in Mosgiel. These stores are approximately 2000 square metres in size, compared with the usual 5000 square meters seen in larger locations. These stores also have single checkout counters, doing without dedicated Service, Jewellery and Entertainment counters which are present in most other stores. Another 3 stores were intended to be launched per year, following this concept.[16]

While the "Local" naming is no longer used, smaller stores in Rolleston and St Lukes have opened using the smaller format.

Entry into e-commerce[edit]

In 2009, The Warehouse announced its entry into online shopping.[9] The brands full range of products were available online by 2012, in time for the brand's 30th birthday.[9]

The brand's offerings were also made available on New Zealand e-commerce platform The Market in 2019.[26][40]

Active subsidiaries[edit]

The Warehouse Group currently owns four flagship brand subsidiaries[41] and one online shopping platform[42].

The Warehouse[edit]

The Warehouse
Subsidiary
Founded1982 Edit this on Wikidata
FounderStephen Tindall Edit this on Wikidata
Headquarters
Number of locations
93 stores (2019)[1]
ParentThe Warehouse Group
Websitethewarehouse.co.nz

The flagship store for the Group; founded in 1982 by Sir Stephen Tindall. The Warehouse sells items of essential use – sport equipment, gardening equipment, furniture, and so on. As a result of their branding and the distinctive colour of their buildings, The Warehouse's stores are colloquially known both within the organisation and within New Zealand as "Red Sheds".[43][44]They compete mainly with Kmart in the discount department store sector, as well as a range of more specialised retailers such as hardware stores Mitre 10 and Bunnings Warehouse, automotive parts retailers Repco and Supercheap Auto, and electronics and homewares retailers such as Farmers, Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi.

Warehouse Stationery[edit]

Warehouse Stationery
Subsidiary
Founded1991[9]
FounderStephen Tindall Edit this on Wikidata
Headquarters
Number of locations
70 stores (2019)[1]
ParentThe Warehouse Group
Websitewarehousestationery.co.nz

Warehouse Stationery is a blue coloured, big-box retail store similar to Australia's Officeworks or America's OfficeMax which sells stationery, computers, printers, computer/office products, and mobile products. It competes locally with OfficeMax (mainly in the office supply segment) as well as with Paper Plus and Whitcoulls in books and stationery, and electronics retailers such as JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman.

The first Warehouse Stationery branch was opened in 1991.[9]

Torpedo7[edit]

Torpedo7
Multi-channel subsidiary
Founded2004 (2004) in Hamilton
Founder
  • Luke Howard-Willis
  • Guy Howard-Willis
Headquarters
Number of locations
21 stores (2020)[47]
ParentThe Warehouse Group
Websitetorpedo7.co.nz

Torpedo7 is a multi-channel subsidiary that own and run online stores Torpedo7 (a sports and outdoor equipment retailer), 1-day.co.nz, (an online daily deals site) and Number One Fitness (selling exercise equipment)[41].

Based in Hamilton, New Zealand, Torpedo7 was founded in 2004 by mountain bike enthusiast Luke Howard-Willis, and his father, Guy Howard-Willis. A 51% stake was purchased by The Warehouse Group for NZ$33 million in 2013.[48] While The Warehouse Group now has full ownership (through Torpedo7's ultimate parent company, Boye Developments Limited[49]), Torpedo7 continues to operate as a standalone business. In October 2014, seven R&R Sport stores previously acquired by The Warehouse Group in December 2013 rebranded as Torpedo7. Combined with two brand new physical stores, this marked Torpedo7's first foray into bricks-and-mortar retail.[50] R&R Sport was founded in 1981 in Dunedin as Recycled Recreation, a store specialising in second hand sports gear.[51]

Noel Leeming[edit]

Noel Leeming
Formerly
Noel Leeming Television
Subsidiary
Founded1973 (1973) in Christchurch
FounderMr. Noel Leeming
Headquarters
Number of locations
77 stores (2019)[1]
ParentThe Warehouse Group
Websitenoelleeming.co.nz

Noel Leeming is a retail electronics store competing with electronics stores like Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi and to a lesser extent department stores like Farmers and homewares stores like Briscoes. It sells a range of consumer electronics, small appliances and whiteware. While there is some degree of overlap between Noel Leeming's core business and The Warehouse and Warehouse Stationery, it tends to concentrate on a more up-market segment, offering a larger selection of brands than would normally be found at a discount retailer like The Warehouse as well as concentrating more on people and services associated with technology.[53] It also operates Tech Solutions, an electronics and whiteware support, installation and learning service for technology users for both in-store and in-home customers.[54]

The brand was founded as "Noel Leeming Television" in 1973. The brand took its name from its founder, Mr Noel Leeming.[55] The first Noel Leeming branch opened in 1973 was located in Barrington Park Mall in Christchurch.[55][56] The brand continued to expand through the South Island. The brand opened their first North Island branch in Auckland in 1986. Leeming retired as managing director of the brand mid-1992. Rapid expansion continued across the North Island through 1993.[55]

The brand merged with Bond & Bond in September 1996 under a trading group "Pacific Retail Group". At the time the group had approximately 90 branches across the country, made up of both brands.[55]

Pacific Retail Group was bought by Gresham Private Equity in 2004 and was renamed "Noel Leeming Group".[57]

The Warehouse Group acquired Noel Leeming Group from Gresham Private Equity for NZ$65 million, effective from 10 December 2012.[58] Noel Leeming Group acquired Maclean Technology in December 2013, a team that delivers specialist professional IT services to New Zealand companies.[59]

TheMarket[edit]

TheMarket is an e-commerce shopping platform that sells products from over 250 retailers and brands from around the world similar to Amazon. The online marketplace is based in Auckland, with its head office located in Newmarket. TheMarket is part of The Warehouse Group's transformation strategy,[60] which began in February 2017 to invest in "the digital future".[61] Appointing global e-commerce expert Justus Wilde as Chief Executive, TheMarket team began working on the project early 2018. Adopting a startup [62] mindset, within fourteen months from inception to launch the mobile-first platform launched publicly 1 August 2019, after a beta period during July.

While the TheMarket holds some of its own inventory, TheMarket primarily operates utilising a drop shipping business model where third-party business-to-consumer (B2C) retailers’ list branded products and dispatch orders. TheMarket launched with 100+ retailers in August 2019 and grew to 200+ retailers by November 2019. TheMarket expects that to increase to 400+ in early 2020 [63]. TheMarket launched its first subscription program, TheMarket Club, on 6 November 2019 (9)[64] which offers free shipping as well as stream services and “echoes global giant Amazon”.[65]

TheMarket uses an established an organised network of ‘MarketPoint’ sites within The Warehouse Groups’ existing 242 physical locations throughout New Zealand, including The Warehouse, Warehouse Stationery, Noel Leeming and Torpedo7 stores and Rural MarketPoint sites are operated by FarmSource in partnership with Fonterra [66]. Currently, there are 72 MarketPoint sites [67] with plans to expand to 300 nationwide. MarketPoint's are sites within existing retail stores where customers can collect and return goods purchased from TheMarket, similar to what Amazon does with Amazon Hub or ASOS.com’s Click and Collect [68].

Previous subsidiaries[edit]

The Warehouse Group Financial Services Limited[edit]

The Warehouse Group Financial Services Limited was a joint venture that was formed in 2001 following the joint acquisition of Diners Club New Zealand by The Warehouse Group and Westpac Banking Corporation.

The Warehouse Group Financial Services Limited provides consumer credit cards and insurance through The Warehouse brand and distribution channels.[6] In the 2014 Annual Report, it is stated that The Group holds a 49% minority share in this financial arm of TW Group with Westpac holding a 51% majority share.[69]

On 1 October 2015 TW Group announced the acquisition of the remaining 51% of TW Group Financial Services from Westpac. The acquisition cost $7.3 million (NZD). Later in the release TW Group also announce their plans to expand the unit not by acquisition but by internal expansion.[70]

In July 2017, less than two years following the acquisition from Westpac, The Warehouse Group announced the sale of the financial services division. The division had been slow to return a profit and returned a bigger loss then expected. The division was sold to FinanceNow, a division of SBS Bank.[71]

Bond & Bond[edit]

Bond & Bond (stylised as Bond+Bond) was a retail electronics store[72] founded in 1875 by Enoch Bond. The store moved to Auckland and opened its first home appliance branch in 1894.[73] It was previously a subsidiary of the Noel Leeming Group Limited before the group's acquisition by The Warehouse Group in 2012.[74]

In 2013, Bond & Bond was merged into Noel Leeming as part of a decision to provide a clear focus on the flagship Noel Leeming brand.[75] Bond & Bond remained as an online clearance website until its closure in 2014.[76]

Financial results[edit]

The Warehouse went public in 1995. Since then the stock has climbed from $1.29 to $5.54 in 2005 then to $2.605 as of 8 January 2015. During 2005, the stock dropped dramatically due to worse than expected results from the Australian operation.[77]

In the financial year ended September 2015, The Warehouse Group reported a revenue of NZ$2.77 billion (up 4.6% on the previous financial year) and profits of NZ$57.1 million (down nearly 6% on the last financial year). Online sales made up NZ$150 million of their revenue – a rise of nearly 800% from just NZ$18.8 million in 2011, though still barely 0.56% of their total sales. While The Warehouse and Warehouse Stationery recorded strong profit growth, the Noel Leeming electronics store division reported a drop in profit of 43% (partly due to one-off rebranding costs). The Torpedo7 Group (including Torpedo7, R&R Fitness, Shotgun Supplements and No.1 Fitness) recorded a profit just above break-even, hit by change and rebranding costs. Meanwhile, the Warehouse Financial Services division recorded a $1.9 million loss, "in line with expectations".[53]

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External links[edit]