Thursday, May 26, 2011
BREAKING NEWS: Bookstores Whitcoulls and Borders have been sold, three months after their parent company REDgroup Retail collapsed under a mountain of debt.
Anne and David Norman, owners of the Farmers department stores and a raft of Australasian jewellery stores, bought the 62 Whitcoulls and five Borders shops from administrator Ferrier Hodgson for an undisclosed sum.
Staff were told of the sale this afternoon, and David Norman said store closures would be avoided ''if at all possible''.
Ian Draper, the former managing director of Whitcoulls and then the REDgroup, would be appointed to run the business.
''Ian has been working with JPL during the due diligence phase of the process and has demonstrated both passion and zeal that we know will be welcomed back by the team at Whitcoulls and Borders,'' Norman said.
Ten Whitcoulls stores at New Zealand airports were sold last month to travel retail specialist LS Travel Retail Pacific.
The stores - five in Auckland, two in Wellington and Christchurch and one in Rotorua - were to be renamed under the new owner's Relay brand.
The Bennetts chain of eight stores located in New Zealand universities was last month bought by an entity owned by private Kiwi investor Geoff Spong.
The Normans own Pascoes, Stewart Dawsons, Prouds, Goldmark and Angus & Coote, plus Farmers - which they bought in 2003 - and Stevens homeware.
Photo Kirk Hargreaves +-The Press
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