Gore closure 'raises flag' for rural retailers

EVAN HARDING
Last updated 15:51 20/06/2014
Postie Plus Gore
EVAN HARDING/Fairfax NZ
BLACKOUT: Staff at the Postie Plus store in Gore have been muzzled from speaking to media following the shock announcement the store will close next month.

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The shock announcement the Postie Plus store in Gore will close next month has highlighted the extremely challenging times faced by rural retailers, the Gore District mayor says.

The Gore Postie Plus store is among 12 of 82 Postie Plus stores in New Zealand that will close in the first week of July, with 64 people losing their jobs nationwide, company administrators said this week.

Mayor Tracy Hicks said the Gore store's closure raised a flag for retailers in rural centres.

"There's probably never been a more difficult time in history for retailing than there is right now because of online trading," Hicks said.

Online trading was attractive, simple and offered a wider variety of products than individual stores could offer, he said.

The solution, Hicks believed, was for retailers in town centres to work together to ensure that people shopping in their towns enjoyed a "shopping experience".

He did not think individual retailers could deal with the problem themselves.

Discussion and "creative thinking" was needed between retailers in Gore so ideas could be generated with the aim of making the town centre a more attractive place to shop, he said.

"My sense is successful retailing isn't just about selling a product, it's about selling an experience. It means retailers should band together a lot more than in the past and create that experience."

When The Southland Times visited the Gore Postie Plus store to speak to the affected staff yesterday, they said they had been ordered not to speak to media.

A Gore shopper, disappointed the Postie Plus shop was closing, said she felt for the staff who would be out of a job.

The store sold clothes that suited her, she said.

"There's not a lot else around that sells clothes at an affordable price for bigger people."

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- The Southland Times

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