Paul Biddle is the general manager of merchandise and marketing at Barkers, which has 27 stores nationwide, including a recently opened store in Wellington’s Cuba Mall.rn
After the hype around the launch of No.1 High Street in late 2014, Barkers seemed to have a relatively quiet year or two. Was this actually the case, or was there a lot more going on behind the scenes?
Actually, we were still very busy. A brand new concept store in Cuba Mall, Wellington; an eyewear collection launch with our partner Euro Optics, which is now available in over 80 optometrists New Zealand wide; and a premium suiting collection using English made fabrics and superior construction techniques. There was also a new fully responsive website launched which has seen our online offer match the quality of our bricks and mortar stores and we moved our head office to a fantastic new location! On top of that, Barkers was the management company for Topshop and opened a second flagship store on Wellington’s Lambton Quay in November.
What were you proudest of Barkers achieving in the year just been? What were the highlights for you?
Seeing our teams continue to grow and develop into a world class group of retailers.
Were there any new initiatives you tried that worked really well, like pop-up shops?
We are always trying new things and constantly look to evolve and develop new ways of communicating and interacting with our customers. 2016 was no different.
What’s planned for the brand in 2017? Are there any new stores planned or product lines you’re particularly excited to roll out?
There will be new flagship stores in Dunedin and Christchurch complete with Barkers Groom Rooms and our product offer will continue to evolve and develop as it has done for the past several years.
Are there any concerns from Barkers around the increased competition from international retailers that are entering the New Zealand market?
Competition is great for everyone as it pushes us to challenge ourselves and continue to improve. Barkers has always been about looking forward and concentrating on offering our customers great products and service in fantastic environments and any new entrants to the market just make us more determined to do what we do even better.
This story originally appeared in the March/April issue of NZ Retail.