Suzanne Grae stores to close

ROUGH TIMES: Suzanne Grae faces job losses of about 100.
ROUGH TIMES: Suzanne Grae faces job losses of about 100.

A notable fashion chain has announced a "last resort" proposal to shut down all of its 19 New Zealand stores, just over a year after launching here.

Suzanne Grae, which has stores in Willis St, Porirua and Paraparaumu, has proposed closures which could put about 100 jobs at risk.

The women's fashion stores owned by Australian company Sussan Group has had a retail presence in New Zealand since 2006.

After declining sales, the remaining six of its Sussan stores were rebranded in November 2011 as the lower-budget Suzanne Grae which specialises in garments for women aged from 40 to 50-plus.

Suzanne Grae chief executive Carole Molyneaux said the company had thoroughly reviewed its business in New Zealand.

"Despite our best efforts to meet local customer requirements on range, price and service, we have not been able to establish a sustainable business," she said.

The company had eight shops in Auckland and others in Rotorua, Christchurch, Wellington, Whangarei, New Plymouth and Dunedin.

Molyneaux said all of its 100 staff would be entitled to conditions under their employment contracts should the closures, over a progressive 11-month period, go ahead.

"Consultation has commenced with staff to gain their views and input on the proposed closures," she said.

"A final decision will depend on the outcome of the employee consultation process."

The Dominion Post