Internet shopping takes toll on Serious Fun

By Katie Holland

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Rotorua surf and streetwear store Serious Fun is closing its doors for good and will be replaced by Hamilton-based chain Backdoor Surf.

The long-time Tutanekai St store is in the midst of a closing down sale, after new owners Backdoor Surf took over last week.

Former owner Mike Lee said the rise of internet shopping was having a huge impact on retailers and had been a definite factor in Serious Fun going out of business.<inline type="poll" id="5384" align="outside"/>

"For example with swimwear, they would be trying it on then leaving to get it on the internet for a cheaper price."

As a chain, he said, the new owners would have more buying power than Serious Fun had so should be able to compete with the internet threat better.

He said in these economic times it had simply become too hard for his independent shop to continue.

"It's difficult trading times for retail at the moment."

Mr Lee said Serious Fun had been in Rotorua for about 20 years, eight under his ownership, so it was sad to see it go.

However, he was pleased it had been bought and would continue to trade, rather than sit empty.

The Backdoor Surf owner, Geoff Hutchison, said the closing-down sale would run for a further six weeks or so.

He said the shop would then close briefly for a refit before reopening as Backdoor Surf, joining nine others throughout the North Island.

Mr Hutchison said he seized the opportunity to launch in Rotorua when Serious Fun became available as it was a lot easier than starting from scratch, adding it also made sense geographically with most of their stores in nearby Hamilton and Mount Maunganui.

He said he was "reasonably confident" there was a market in the city, saying Rotorua shoppers could expect more New Zealand brands, more "current and cool" labels and more surf and snow products when they reopened as Backdoor Surf. He confirmed the Serious Fun staff had been kept on.

- ROTORUA DAILY POST

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