Moore Wilson's starts to explore online sales

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 05:00 03/06/2014

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Bricks-and-mortar bastion Moore Wilson's has dipped its toes into online retailing by selling wines, craft beers and spirits from a new website.

Executive director Julie Moore said it was testing the waters and homeware and dry goods could follow.

Buying anything from the 95-year-old family-owned business, which employs just under 300 staff at its four Wellington and Wairarapa stores, used to feel like something of a privilege.

Originally established as a wholesaler, Moore Wilson's once required customers to register and obtain a club card to purchase from its stores.

That was ditched more than 10 years ago, Moore said, and retail sales had become more important to the company as the dividing lines between wholesaling and retailing had tumbled down. But the bulk of its business still came from the wholesale trade, she said.

The company's move into online sales comes comparatively late. Woolworths began selling groceries online 16 years ago and there are a plethora of internet-based retailers and "wine clubs" selling wine online.

Moore did not believe the company had been greatly affected by online competition. "We don't like to rush things. We have been watching and waiting and we want to get the right balance between ‘bricks and mortar' and online because we think there is a place for both in the future of the business."

She expected the company's trusted brand and "everyday low pricing" would differentiate its online beverage service, which was offering nationwide delivery.

There have been strong indications over the past year that the growth of e-commerce has begun having an impact on sections of the retail industry that had previously felt relatively immune from online competition, such as clothes shops.

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- The Dominion Post

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