Farmers' Cuba St department store remains closed after Friday's earthquake - but its bosses will not tell shoppers why, or for how long.
However, a spokesman for First union said staff were told at a meeting on Tuesday that the company was concerned about the stability of the building.
The store is shut until further notice while engineering assessments are carried out.
The heritage-listed building, at 94-102 Cuba St, is on Wellington City Council's list of earthquake-prone buildings, which means it meets less than 34 per cent of the new building standard.
Farmers has refused to discuss what damage, if any, the store sustained during and after the earthquake.
Chief financial officer Michael Power said the building's state was confidential and the public did not need to know.
"It's for us to deal with. It's confidential, you don't need to know why the building is closed."
He refused to discuss whether customers were in any danger on Friday, saying the building had been evacuated immediately after the earthquake.
"The building is closed. There are no people in it [now]."
It was not clear how long it would be shut, and Mr Power would not discuss how much the closure was costing Farmers.
About 100 people work at the store, which was built about 1914. They had been relocated to other stores in Wellington, he said, and were still being paid.
Farmers leases the building, which was formerly owned by Terry Serepisos, returning $1.7 million a year to its owners. Farmers' lease has six years to run.
It was designed by architect Joshua Charlesworth, who also designed the Wellington Town Hall, and forms part of the Cuba St historic area. The Farmers branch was once an independent department store but became part of the company in 1960.
Wellington City Council spokesman Richard MacLean said it was aware of the closure, but was not otherwise involved.
"We are letting the owners get on with the job of inspecting and doing any minor repairs, if indeed they are necessary," he said. "If major repairs are required, then we will be informed."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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