Hardware DIY chain Bunnings says it is opening three new stores this year, with plans to build a further two, as it welcomes a new boss in New Zealand.
Jacqui Coombes, who has been appointed general manager, said yesterday Bunnings would open a new store in Hawera on Monday and a second store in New Plymouth before the end of the year.
A Blenheim store will also open soon and there are plans to build stores in Silverdale and Takanini.
Coombes was previously national general manager of craft, furnishings and fabric chain Spotlight in New Zealand, and took over at Bunnings from Rod Caust, an Australian now working at Bunnings across the Tasman.
Spotlight said last year it had 16 New Zealand stores and was New Zealand's biggest retailer of dress fabrics, craft and home interior products.
Bunnings has bought the PlaceMakers site on New Plymouth's Molesworth St and that building would be refurbished and fitted out when the lease expired in September, Coombes said.
The existing New Plymouth store, in Corbett Rd, Bell Block, would become a specialist Bunnings Trade Centre.
Bunnings would begin trading from the new site before Christmas. The building would have a new layout and include a 1280m landscape yard and outdoor nursery.
Bunnings came to New Zealand in 2001 after buying Benchmark Building Supplies. Since then it has spent more than $500 million and operates 21 large-format Bunnings Warehouses. Last year, it opened a $37 million Bunnings Warehouse in Glenfield, next door to a Mitre 10 Mega.