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Kit and Ace pulls the plug on international stores

  • News
  • April 28, 2017
  • Sarah Dunn
Kit and Ace pulls the plug on international stores

Canada-based athleisure retailer Kit and Ace dipped its toes into the New Zealand market recently, opening a series of pop-ups followed by a store in Auckland’s Britomart, which closed at the start of this year. The brand has now abandoned its international strategy, however, announcing it will shutter stores outside Canada to focus on an ecommerce strategy instead.

Kit and Ace district director Anna Strand said in an email in January that Kit and Ace had decided to close its Britomart location. It had planned to remain there until March 2017, with six more stores around New Zealand to follow within the next three to five years.

Strand said in January that the closure was “not forever”.

“We've made strong local connections in New Zealand, and built out a great network – the brand is planning to be back in New Zealand in the future,” she said. “I know that the brand will be back (and remember we still have www.kitandace.com) but right now, it’s just not the right time for the business from a global perspective.”

The company has now announced that it will close all stores in the US, Australia and the UK as it shifts its focus to online sales and its nine Canadian outlets. The fate of Kit and Ace’s Japanese stores has not been mentioned in international media, but these also seem to have closed.

Kit and Ace was founded in 2014 by Lululemon’s former head of design Shannon Wilson and her stepson JJ Wilson, who are the wife and son of Lululemon founder Chip Wilson.

The company attempts to fill a gap in the athleisure market by providing functional and comfortable apparel made from its range of luxurious proprietary fibres. Machine-washable “technical cashmere” is its flagship product.

Kit and Ace has grown rapidly over the past three years, but also had a series of layoffs last year. At the beginning of 2016, it had 61 outlets and around 700 staff worldwide, but cut 10 percent of its head office start in February, then approximately 20 percent of the remaining 280 later in the year. The number of jobs affected by these recent closures was undisclosed by the privately-owned company.

Comments on social media imply the company may not have informed its staff before announcing the closures.

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Enhancing the experience: Hospitality New Zealand

  • News
  • November 17, 2017
  • Courtney Devereux
Enhancing the experience: Hospitality New Zealand

Some commentators think food and integrated hospitality offerings will save brick and mortar retail from obsolescence in the age of ecommerce. But does catering to the consumer’s every need result in sales, or are shoppers moving on without making a purchase? In the Enhancing the experience series Courtney Devereux hears from Vicki Lee of Hospitality New Zealand about why these two different sectors are working together.

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What’s next for Auckland’s City Centre: a Q&A with designer Ludo-Campbell Reid

  • News
  • November 16, 2017
  • Elly Strang
What’s next for Auckland’s City Centre: a Q&A with designer Ludo-Campbell Reid

Auckland Council recently released a video detailing how far it’s come with the urban design of the City Centre over the last 10 to 15 years, as well as its vision for the years to come. Elly Strang talks with Ludo Campbell-Reid about the pace at which his vision is coming to fruition, the most impactful changes already made to the City Centre and goals for the future.

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Owner / Retailer: Suzie Johnson

  • News
  • November 16, 2017
  • Sarah Dunn
Owner / Retailer: Suzie Johnson

Oosh is a regional retail empire that’s built on empowering rural women. Founder Suzie Johnson chose the name after ‘Oosh’ was tagged into the side of her first store in Shannon, which she opened after putting her husband through university selling jewellery and paintings at markets.

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A first look at new pharmacy player Chemist Warehouse

  • Opinion
  • November 16, 2017
  • The Register team
A first look at new pharmacy player Chemist Warehouse

When Australian pharmacy giant Chemist Warehouse opened its first New Zealand outlet less than 50 metres from The Register team’s office, Courtney Devereux and Sarah Dunn couldn’t resist heading in for a mystery shopping trip or two.

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