Warehouse selling porn

Last updated 07:45 24/10/2013

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You might find more than you bargained for next time you pop down to The Warehouse - the red sheds have gone blue.

The Warehouse's online store is selling soft porn books with titles such as Erotic Fantasies, Pocket Erotic and On The Couch, described on Amazon as "photographs of men letting their inhibitions drop".

Warehouse spokeswoman Gretchen Lowe apologised yesterday for the titles being on the website, and said various steps were in place, such as turning off the erotic genre, to stop similar problems.

Even so, The Dominion Post found an array of titles yesterday simply by typing "erotic" in The Warehouse's search function.

Ms Lowe said there were no classifications for books in New Zealand, but The Warehouse had excluded 20,000 "adult" books from its range.

"In the worldwide database of over seven million books, of which we stock 1 million, there will be a small amount of categorising faults."

The problem was not isolated to The Warehouse, she said.

It follows revelations this week by Britain's Daily Mail that bookseller WHSmith took its site down after it was discovered that an ebook search for certain keywords - such as "daddy" - brought up tales of sexual humiliation and bondage alongside children's titles.

Now-folded New Zealand bookseller Borders has a website which redirects to Australia's Angus & Robertson.

A search of that site early yesterday for "daddy" came up with the family friendly Billy Bunny And Daddy Fox alongside Sticky Situations 5, an adult publication, and an ebook marketed as "gay stepfather erotica".

Pleased with online success

Shoppers at The Warehouse have clicked with a new online purchasing method, pleasing chief executive Mark Powell, who says he was not an early believer.

During a visit to Hamilton yesterday, where he led a media tour of a recent acquisition, online retailer Torpedo7, Powell said click-and-collect sales were proving popular.

The service enables customers to buy items online and, instead of waiting for delivery, go to their local store to collect them.

The new method was rolled out nationally two weeks ago, through The Warehouse's deal website Red Alert.

Powell said that already, 12 per cent of internet sales were click-and-collect purchases.

He admitted being dubious at first about the system but said it was a competitive edge for the company.

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"It's playing to your local advantage, those overseas online competitors haven't got pick-up points."

Warehouse Stationery will roll out the click-and-collect option next month, and subsidiary Noel Leeming, which already offers a similar service, is set to push the option in the New Year.

Click-and-collect is the latest move in the group's efforts to diversify its offerings.

Over the past year the business has made eight acquisitions, two of them to scale with buy-ins to Noel Leeming and Torpedo7.

Powell said that while the changes were not without risk and cost, the company would fail if it remained static. "We're in the process of reshaping the business. If you go back 2 years ago, there's been a lot of change."

He said the company was now a broad retail group with strong online offerings whereas before the business was defined by the brick-and-mortar reds sheds supplemented with the Warehouse Stationery brand.

Powell said: "I think if we'd have just sat where we were and projected forward to now - hadn't invested in our stores, hadn't invested in our product ranges, hadn't invested in our people - we would be in a far worse position than we are now." Powell said the company had an eye on a few more smaller acquisitions over the next year and would continue to reinvent itself.

"We're doing a number of different things, we think we're doing the right things, we're doing them at pace.

"I think we're doing the right things but success [isn't] guaranteed." Fairfax NZ

Fairfax NZ

 

- The Marlborough Express

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