The Shell brand is to disappear from hundreds of petrol stations across New Zealand, in a major renaming project.
Over the next two months Greenstone, which owns the Shell retail and distribution network in this country, will rebrand 10 of its stations Z - pronounced zed - with all 220 stations renamed by next June.
Greenstone, a joint venture between Infratil and the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, bought the Shell stations in April 2010, and has since made no secret of its plans to change the brand.
Chief executive Mike Bennetts said the project would cost around $35 million, with the resulting stations more focused on convenience food, an area where he acknowledged the company has been lacking.
All 2500 of the staff members would be retrained.
The company carried out a major research project, which questioned more than 17,000 people, about what they wanted from a petrol station, before concluding that the change should be made.
"Change is never a straight forward decision, but we were really well informed by what 17,000 New Zealanders had to say and they gave us the confidence that we're actually making the right decision,'' Bennetts said.
He said the cost of using the Shell brand, believed to be about $10 million a year, was a factor in the decision, however he claimed that in the long run it would be cheaper for the company.
"It's a bit like would you like to rent a car, as opposed to owning a car.''
TV ads will begin screening tomorrow playing up the company's local ownership.
- The Dominion Post
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