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Refit busy time for Red Shed boss

HEATHER SIMPSON
Last updated 13:36 21/05/2014
Graham Lowe
DEREK FLYNN/Fairfax NZ
NEW LOOK: Graham Lowe is spearheading the store's $1.2 million refit.

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The new manager at The Warehouse in Blenheim is spearheading a major refit of the store.

Graham Lowe said the $1.2 million makeover would help improve the customer experience and hopefully get more customers through the door.

The facelift includes new signage, lower shelves and revised layouts. Work started on Tuesday and would take eight weeks to complete.

Lowe, who took up his appointment two weeks ago, said the refurbishment was an exciting prospect for Marlborough shoppers.

New changing rooms and fixtures and fittings to hold aisle stock were being introduced.

Eight new checkouts and hardware drives would be installed and the gaps between tills have been doubled to 2 metres to improve accessibility.

Merchandise would be shifted to be aligned with The Warehouse stores nationwide.

Lowe said the store would remain open while work was carried out.

The new store would be revealed at a relaunch on August 14.

"The flow of the store will be realigned to improve the customer experience and make it more open and accessible," Lowe said.

"This is my third refit for Warehouse. When we relaunched out Petone store there were 74 people waiting outside on opening day. We hope for double that in Blenheim."

Two thirds of Warehouse stores in New Zealand have been refurbished since 2012 as part of a $130 million makeover of its 89 stores. It has been the first nationwide refit in 30 years of trading. Lowe was responsible for 71 workers and has finished recruiting an additional 15 casual staff.

Originally from Liverpool in Britain, he and his family moved to New Zealand in 2012. He has been assistant store manager at Nelson and store manager of the Petone store in Wellington. Lowe took up the position in Blenheim after the retirement of manager Ian Daubney.

His managerial mantra was customer-centric, he said.

"I am about customer service at the store and getting the right people to serve at the right place. I want customers to walk out feeling they have had a great level of service and want to come back again.

"I also want to help our role within the community. A lot of people ask for donations but it is how we go that extra mile in terms of charitable giving to make a real difference."

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