The Dick Smith drama continues: 22 jobs cut, employees underpaid, and investigations underway

  • News
  • February 9, 2016
  • Elly Strang
The Dick Smith drama continues: 22 jobs cut, employees underpaid, and investigations underway

After a month of analysing Dick Smith’s books, receivers of troubled retailer Dick Smith have uncovered some discrepancies in staff pay.

Receiver James Stewart said the investigations had found that up to 3200 current and former employees of the business may have been underpaid through their annual leave entitlements.

This potentially dates back as far as 2010, he says.

The underpayment issue doesn’t affect any current or former employees in New Zealand.

The receivers estimate this could be up to A$2 million, so the issue has been brought before the Fair Work Ombudsman and the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association.

With the company’s New Zealand arm, BusinessDesk reports almost 200 New Zealand staff are owed $353,000 by the company.

As well as this, Dick Smith’s chief financial officer Michael Potts has lost his job as part of a restructuring effort by the receivers. A total of 22 support office jobs, including Potts, will be lost.

This follows former CEO Nick Abboud, who left a week after the chain went into receivership. Former Woolworths executive Bert van de Velde will act as the interim CFO.

Adding fuel to the fire, an Australian senator has called for an independent inquiry into the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, a corporate watchdog.

He said the public needs answers as to how a private equity firm “made a killing” by floating Dick Smith Holdings for A$520 million in 2013. The deal was called “the greatest private equity heist of all time”.

"How on Earth did this happen?" Senator Xenophon said.

“There seems to have been a systemic failure of our corporate regulatory structure whether it's the case of the watchdog, the auditors, or the private equity firm which made a killing when they floated Dick Smith just two years ago, whether they should be held accountable.

But the fact is, this shouldn't have happened. The employees of this company deserve answers."

Dick Smith recently published a letter on its New Zealand site to its customers, promising to win back the trust of its customers under new management through great products, prices and service.

But the trust of its customers will be hard won if Facebook comments about the letter are anything to go by.

Customers are clearly still fuming at the company over the possibility of being left in the lurch with vouchers, returns and lay-bys.

“This letter with an invitation to 'shop as normal' is a real slap in the face for customers like us with gift vouchers you'll no longer honour,” wrote one customer.

Another said, “You have got to be joking. I bought a computer online in DSE New Year sale. Dick Smith has said they won't be sending the computer or refunding my money. They referred me to the receiver who won't reply to my emails. Do Not Trust Them. You would be sucker to believe this letter.”

However, receivers still believe the New Zealand operation is profitable, and would be an attractive prospect to be bought by another business or buyer.

More than 40 parties have come forward to express interest in purchasing the company, and a shortlist is now being put together.

​ ​

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.


Global recognition for instore innovation

  • Design
  • June 20, 2019
  • Courtney Devereux
Global recognition for instore innovation

The Global Innovation Awards (GIA) program was created by the IHA and International Home + Housewares Show to foster innovation and excellence in home and housewares retailing throughout the world. This year saw 30 national winners from 29 countries. The competition is structured on a two-tier level, evaluating national and global retailers across the following metrics: Overall mission statement, vision and strategy, store design and layout, visual merchandising, displays and window displays, marketing, advertising and promotions, customer service and staff training, innovation.

Read more

Trends analysed at Chicago's International Home + Housewares Show

Each new year for retailers is another question mark in guessing what to present to consumers. Luckily in the world of retail, trade shows can ...


Shoptalk 2019: The city of lights delivers

Juanita Neville-Te Rito shares a sprinkle of retail magic from Las Vegas retail conference Shoptalk.


Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

Regional rollercoaster
What does retail look like in 2019 for ...
Concept to closet
Business coverage of New Zealand Fashion Week.
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...

Consumer confidence falls again, but still optimistic

  • News
  • June 20, 2019
  • Radio New Zealand
Consumer confidence falls again, but still optimistic

Consumers remain downbeat about the future of the economy, but are more upbeat about their own financial situations.

Read more

Automation will help retailers focus on customers

  • News
  • June 19, 2019
  • The Register team
Automation will help retailers focus on customers

More than 100 retailers have gathered at Freedom Furniture’s new Newmarket flagship to consider what the upcoming wave of automation technology offers for the industry. Speakers included Pier Smulders from Alibaba Group and Soul Machines’ Hilary O’Connor.

Read more

A guide to the four favourite business f***-ups I've made

  • Opinion
  • June 18, 2019
  • Wendy Thompson
A guide to the four favourite business f***-ups I've made

Wendy Thompson is the founder and CEO of the successful social media marketing agency Socialites, and has 16 years digital marketing experience in some of New Zealand's top advertising agencies. However. that doesn't mean she hasn't made her fair share of mistakes in her career. Here, in her typically colourful way, she shares four mistakes she's learnt from all her years in business – and the important lessons she learnt from them.

Read more
Next page
Results for
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

The Register

Content marketing/advertising? Email or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit