Hellaby Holdings last week announced it had established a new advisory board for its footwear group in order to manage a series of updates and adjustments. Chaired by chief executive and managing director, Alan Clarke, the board will include senior team members from Hellaby, Hannahs and Number One Shoes, along with consultants John Elliott and Roger Harper, and an independent footwear retail expert, Ron Halls.
Clarke says both Hannahs and Number One Shoes have been under pressure from various sides. Retail footwear has become more competitive as existing fashion and sporting retailers have added footwear to their product mixes, and more boutique outlets have opened.
Same-store performance has been flat to negative for both brands, Clarke says. Costs have also risen as leases and annual increases for staff have grown.
“It reached a point where we’ve said, ‘Okay, let’s look at this properly.’”
The new direction for Hannahs and Number One Shoes has been approved by the Hellaby Holdings board, and will now be implemented. Clarke sees the multimillion-dollar restructure as an investment in “an iconic New Zealand group”.
“This isn’t about us discontinuing anything, it’s about us investing into this area.”
As part of the restructure, the Hannahs brand and stores will receive a refresh, while Number One Shoes is set to return to its origins as a bulk offering. While Hannahs is more of a boutique offering typically located within malls, Number One Shoes was originally about volume, offering price-competitive items in a big-box environment: “Bulk shoes at low prices”.
“Number One Shoes has migrated up the value chain towards a look and feel similar to Hannahs,” Clarke says. “We asked ourselves, ‘Is that really the smartest thing to do?’”
The two brands currently operate a separate back-office structure, but Hellaby is now seeking to remove inefficiencies by creating complementary services which share the investment across both brands.
While Clarke was unwilling to indicate how many jobs are to be lost during the restructure, he confirmed there was likely to be staffing changes in the Hellaby Holdings Footwear Group’s back office.
The company will also be looking at Hannahs and Number One Shoes’ network of stores, and while it’s unlikely Hellaby will withdraw its brands from any market segment, Clarke says in situations where three or four stores are in close geographic proximity, Hellaby may look to rationalise this.