As the trend for fashionable workwear grows, a 1000 sqm NZ Safety Blackwoods flagship store has opened its doors to meet the needs of the trades industry.
Based in Auckland, the store is the beginning of a retail expansion plan for the New Zealand market over the coming year. The Penrose store footprint is double the size of the chain’s next largest store and is the 30th store in the country, being the first of two new stores to open in the Auckland region.
According to industry experts, the growing trend for fashionable tradie clothing is partly due to the increase in women entering trades, which data from NZ Statistics shows is up 39 percent from a decade ago.
Durable workwear labels designed for the fashion-conscious tradie are now being sold alongside tools, engineering supplies, safety and personal protective equipment in a retail environment which for the first time has mirrors and changing rooms.
NZ Safety Blackwoods’ general manager, Andy Antoci, says the trade industries are ditching the traditional persona as a new generation of more image-conscious tradies emerge. He adds that retail outlets in the industry are renowned for being dirty and dusty stores with empty shelves and poor service.
“More commonly now, tradies are looking for workwear that they can come off the site, take off their work boots and head down to the pub.
“The designer label on their work clothing is just as important to them as their casual clothes are and a range of recognisable fashion brands like KingGee, Levis and FXD have developed an offering to meet this need. At the same time, we are also seeing nationwide advertising campaigns which feature high profile sporting stars as they move to target a mainstream audience.”
He adds that as a retailer, NZ Safety Blackwoods has evolved to provide the service levels to match the positioning of this style of attire, which now includes a more cutstomised fitting service.
The New Zealand market is also changing in line with international trends to provide safer working environments for those in the trades industry. Construction sites in overseas countries are now driving a trend towards operating without any power cables and there is a noticeable shift in demand for cordless tools.
“Another technology trend is driven from the recognition that situational awareness is a causal factor in a significant number of workplace accidents and so the use of bluetooth enabled communication devices on the worksite is becoming more prevalent as a way to alert workers to hazards,” says Antoci.
Additionally, the retailer’s investment in a local omnichannel expansion programme will cover bricks and mortar stores as well as their e-commerce platforms.
“We are seeing more tradespeople working in smaller teams now and there is a move towards a centralised purchasing model where being able to get everything they need to get the job done in one place means greater efficiency and less time away from the site.
“Offering an integrated retail solution provides access to a wider range of products with the minimum time needed to make the purchase.”