JK Kids shuts up shop

Nelson staff lose jobs in nationwide shutdown

Last updated 09:48 26/11/2013
JK Kids
MARTIN DE RUYTER/FAIRFAX NZ
CLOSING DOWN: JK Kids shop in Trafalgar St part of the national chain of stores that is shutting down.

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Four Nelson workers are among about 70 set to lose their jobs after Christchurch-based children's clothing retailer JK Kids' decision to wind down the nationwide business of 25 shops.

The company announced its decision on its Facebook page.

"We have made the decision to wind down our JK Kids business. We truly thank you for your support over our 18 years in New Zealand," it said.

Its Nelson store in Trafalgar St has a manager and three part-time staff.

Manager Marie Wadsworth, who has worked there for five years, said: "I'm going to Auckland because there's no jobs here."

The shop has a sale but no date has been set for its closure.

Owner Ben Sproat said a decline in sales had forced the company to make the difficult decision.

The company had loyal customers, but it was becoming very difficult for children's clothing retailers to operate in New Zealand with competition coming from overseas online retailers, he said.

GST-free and freight-free clothes from Europe and the United States were being sold at their end-of-season sales just when the season for retailers in New Zealand had started.

Sproat said he was sorry for his loyal customer base and staff.

"It's a shame. No-one wants to make people unemployed, but we've been forced to make a decision."

Customers showed their disappointment at the news on the company's Facebook page.

Jody Keehan, of Christchurch, wrote: "Very sad to lose such a wonderful Kiwi business. Kia kaha!"

Glenda Kingston, of Lincoln, was also disappointed: "Totally gutted! JK Kids has been my number one choice for kids clothes shopping for the last 10 years!!!!"

Rachel Louise Bennett, of Hamilton, agreed: "So sad you are closing down. Love your clothing. Great quality and love your styles. Especially the Merino. The staff in Hamilton are so friendly and helpful."

A JK Kids store manager, who asked not to be named, said it was sad news for people who would lose their jobs.

She had been told a few days ago that her shop would close by the end of December.

"Everyone is disappointed, and now we have to look for a new job."

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