Staff in the Whanganui Dick Smith branch were unable to comment yesterday on news the electronics retailer has gone into receivership.

Whanganui has one Dick Smith store, which employs four people.

The outlook appears grim for the transtasman retailer after its banks appointed Ferrier Hodgson as receivers.

The retailer, which operates 62 stores in New Zealand and employs 3300 staff on both sides of the Tasman, has also appointed McGrathNicol as voluntary administrator.

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Dick Smith chairman Rob Murray said sales and cash generation in December had fallen below management expectations.

Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin said the outlook could be "a bit grim" for people holding Dick Smith gift cards.

"Basically people with those cards will be unsecured creditors," Chetwin said.

Dick Smith management could not be reached for comment.

Chetwin said Dick Smith had struggled in the ultra-competitive electronics retail sector. "It looks like they've been struggling for quite some time," she said. "Their shops didn't seem to be as well stocked as the other electronics stores - it looked like the writing had been on the wall for a wee while."

Throughout New Zealand and Australia the chain has 393 stores and was put into receivership two years after being taken public by buyout firm Anchorage Capital Partners.