Iconic New Zealand retailer Farmers has celebrated its 110th year in business.
The ever-evolving heritage retailer began life as New Zealand’s first mail-order business, trading under the name of Laidlaw Leeds. Now boasting 58 stores from Kaitaia to Invercargill, it’s still New Zealand-owned today and employs 3,800 staff.
Chief executive David Collins emphasised the importance of regional bricks and mortar stores to its growth:
“Since 1909, Farmers has been a central part of the community across the country and has continued to be a store for the people, with many generations of New Zealanders being a part of the Farmers story in some way,” Collins says. “As a company, we have survived two world wars, the rise of digitalisation and innovation across the retail category, and continue to deliver on our promise of providing great friendly service and an innovative retail experience for our customers.”
Farmers even has its own historian, Dr Ian Hunter. Hunter says Farmers has been responsible for many of New Zealand’s retail firsts.
“Farmers was the first mail-order business in New Zealand, it had the first Santa parade that continues to be a Christmas icon in New Zealand, provided the first free car park for customers in Australasia, brought the first escalator to New Zealand, was the first to offer a money back guarantee to customers, first to offer a free bus service, first to launch a customer loyalty programme, first self-service tearooms, the first to write a mission statement, and has been the first to introduce many new brands and products to New Zealand.”
Farmers is now calling for Kiwis to share their Farmers memories, photos and memorabilia. If you’d like to reminisce, email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #110YearsOfFarmers.