First Union says Foodstuffs confirmed its decision last night and workers were told this morning.
Five stores – Gilmours wholesalers in Henderson, Rotorua and Panmure and Toops wholesalers in New Plymouth and Napier – are closing.
This is despite the Napier local business community, its workers and Labour leader Andrew Little rallying to save the Toops store.
Locals were also swift to take action on Facebook.
A page called “Save Gilmours Henderson” has 650 likes.
First Union reports this could see up to 130 jobs axed across the country.
The remaining Gilmours and Toops food trade stores would transition to an owner-operator model under a new brand.
First Union general secretary Robert Reid says it seems the customer was not right, despite efforts to save the stores.
“Large and unexpected closures like this cause significant hardship for workers and their families and what Hawkes Bay business owner is going to drive four hours to Palmerston North and back to purchase food supplies?” Reid says.
Closure of the stores will happen from the end of July to late August.
A lot of people are reacting angrily to the decision on social media, while one Gilmours Henderson worker seems to have begrudgingly accepted it.