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HomeNEWS2016 in retail: Most impressive revival, and biggest departure

2016 in retail: Most impressive revival, and biggest departure

The most impressive brand revival award

Winner: Kmart

There’s nothing like an impressive reinvention story in retail, and when it comes to reinventions, Australian-owned discount homeware store Kmart is king. It went from being on the brink of bankruptcy and languishing behind its competitors in the New Zealand market, Farmers and The Warehouse, to becoming a nationwide fan favourite – even inspiring us to a pen a love letter to it on The Register. Its fortunes were turned around when it honed in on its point of difference and modelled itself as a specialist in cheap-but-chic homeware, with a restructured product offering, a strong social media buzz behind the brand (Look on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram and you’ll find a cult following posting about its every move) and a brand-new in-store look. With its New Zealand ecommerce site just about to launch, the brand is going from strength to strength and shows no signs of slowing down.

Runner up: Farmers launching its ecommerce site and new apparel and homewares range.

The biggest departure from a company award

Winner: Farmers CEO Rod McDermott

McDermott’s swift exit from one of New Zealand’s heritage retailers after 25 years was one of the most shocking moves of the year from a retail executive. He had been chief executive for 10 years, and with the company for another 15. He even helped the brand ring in its 100th anniversary. Farmers chief financial officer Michael Power said McDermott had left to seek out “new and interesting challenges”.

Runner up: Michael Hill chief executive Mike Parsell stepping down after 16 years.

This story originally appeared in NZ Retail magazine issue 747 December 2016 / January 2017

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