Christchurch-based furniture and appliances retailer Smiths City has increased its presence in the North Island with three stores formerly belonging to Furniture City. One of these, in Whangarei, has recently been rebranded to Smiths City.
Smiths City acquired Furniture City in January of last year for $5.85 million. The brand had three stores - one on Auckland's North Shore, one in Auckland's Mt Wellington, and the Whangarei store. The two Auckland stores are expected to be rebranded before Christmas, bringing Smiths City's nationwide store count to 37.
The acquisition and rebranding of Furniture City comes following the December 2015 changes regarding LV Martin, when Smiths City began consolidating its stores to turn its two Wellington-based LV Martin stores into Smiths City branches. It had owned the stores under the LV Martin brand for more than 10 years.
Roy Campbell, chief executive of Smiths City Group, said the Furniture City rebranding was in line with the company’s ambition to become a recognised national retailer.
"We have been in need of an Auckland presence for some time," Campbell said. “The former Furniture City stores will expand our foothold in the upper North Island as we work to become a truly New Zealand retailer. The acquisition of Furniture City, and the opening of new stores in Taupo and Hastings, have extended our reach into markets that offer long term growth prospects. "
Campbell says the rise of ecommerce has resulted in much greater price transparency and significantly intensified competition, requiring retailers to focus on differentiation, but it won't spell the end of bricks and mortar.
“In fact, in our core categories of furniture and appliances, our stores become more important. Customers in these core categories want to touch and feel the products before they buy. They want to sit on the sofa, test the comfort of the bed, see whether their chosen fridge has all the storage compartments they need.
“Good service, no-fuss delivery and the confidence that customers can talk to someone just down the road to make things right are highly valued by Kiwis. Importantly, these qualities will beat - hands down - a good deal from a faceless retailer with no obvious fixed abode.”
Smiths City will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year.