Matthew Theunissen is a business reporter

Vacant Dick Smith stores find new tenants

A Dick Smith store in Queen St, Auckland. Photo / File
A Dick Smith store in Queen St, Auckland. Photo / File

Nearly half of the stores left vacant when Dick Smith collapsed have found new tenants, but provincial high streets will have to put up with vacant shop fronts at least a little longer.

The electronics retailer went into receivership earlier this year amid a sales slump that left it with a mountain of excess stock that had to be heavily discounted in the lead-up to Christmas.

Its 390 stores in New Zealand and Australia were forced to close, while revelations emerged of mismanagement in relation to the company's rebate programme.

Commercial real estate company Colliers International said nearly half of the 62 stores that closed in New Zealand had now been re-leased, with several more currently under negotiation.

Its national director of retail, Leroy Wolland, said the new tenants were predominantly big brands including Noel Leeming, PB Tech, Bed Bath & Beyond, Lighting Plus, the Golf Warehouse and the Clearance Shed. A number of stores had been rented to new Australian pet retailer Petstock.

Most of these stores were in major cities, while it was proving more difficult to find tenants in the provinces.

"Ex Dick Smith's stores in locations like Levin, Gisborne, Richmond and Wanganui are still empty," Wolland said. "Although the former Dick Smith stores are typically in the best retail locations in these markets, the issue is around the lack of demand from national brands to enter these smaller cities and towns."

Bigger brands' hesitancy to move into these locations meant they would likely be filled by local retailers, he said.

- NZ Herald

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