Outdoor chain closes due to 'saturated' market

Last updated 22:46 06/08/2014

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The country's "slow economy" has taken its toll on a major Australian outdoors company that is closing all of its New Zealand stores.

Australian-owned Mountain Designs announced to its customers today that "difficult trading times in New Zealand" meant it was no longer viable to keep the country's 12 North and South Island stores open.

A "saturated" market with too much competition and a small population had left the company with little choice but to pull the pin, Mountain Designs brand and marketing director Gavin Flannery said.

"The stores would be closed down over a gradual process, probably prior to the Christmas period, but nothing is confirmed.''

He said the company was still negotiating leases with landlords at all the stores.

As many as 70 jobs would be affected by the closures and Flannery said the company was doing everything it could to help their employees find new work or re-train.

"We're really looking after our staff. A lot of them have worked for Mountain Designs and been very passionate about their work for many years.''

Like many international retailers, Mountain Designs, had struggled to stay afloat in the New Zealand market over the last few years.

"There's five or six retailers in New Zealand that do the same stuff as us and the travel and outdoors market has become saturated''.

Christchurch's earthquakes, the slow economy and the North Island droughts had also contributed to lost profit, he said.

Mountain Designs was established in Australia in 1975 and has been operating in New Zealand for more than a decade.

The 47 retail stores across the ditch were expected to continue to "grow and strengthen in the Australian retail market''.

Returns, exchanges and gift cards would be accepted from Kiwi customers, as well as special delivery options and offers through the website.

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