It's no longer a material world

05:19, May 13 2009
CUT UP: H & J Smith chief executive John Green says a fall in demand is behind the store's decision to stop stocking dressmaking material.

H & J Smith department store has stopped stocking dressmaking material after a drop in customer demand.

Chief executive John Green said the fall was caused by the increasing availability of cheap ready-to-wear garments.

"Ready-to-wear clothing has been just quietly eating into the market for a considerable period of time since trade barriers were removed in the 1970s," Mr Green said.

There was still a strong contingent of dedicated sewers but time pressures also meant more people did not have time to make their own clothes, he said.

"There will be a percentage of the population that will home sew, and some to a very high standard, but the volume of people is simply not sufficient to justify the selection of product and the allocation of display space."

Of the seven staff in the department, six had been moved to other areas and one had taken redundancy.

H&J Smith would continue to sell fabric for furnishings such as curtains, and haberdashery, and it planned to extend its range of linens, Mr Smith said.

The move was also a part of the department store's continuing refurbishment which has included the opening of an espresso bar and a surf wear store, both of which had been well received.

Several Invercargill stores supplied dressmaking materials and he hoped H&J Smith's decision to no longer stock them would give other stores a lift in business, Mr Smith said.


The Southland Times