On this Black Friday retail bonanza day, Bunnings has suddenly shut a big $49.2 million Auckland store after engineering advice about seismic issues.
A statement just issued from Australia described problems at the property, owned by NZX-listed business Investore Property, headed by Philip Littlewood.
"Bunnings will temporarily close its Mount Roskill store after receiving engineers' advice that raised concerns around the seismic resilience of the carpark. Based on that advice, we have made the decision to close the store until further notice whilst we work through next steps with our landlord and engineers," the retailer said.
The company "sincerely apologises" to all Mount Roskill customers for the inconvenience, however the safety of team and customers is its number one consideration.
"During this period, Bunnings' commercial customers will continue to be served via their account managers and retail customers are able to shop at nearby stores or online and have items delivered to their homes," it said.
Investore said in its latest report: "With regards to the property at 2 Carr Rd, Auckland, Bunnings is planning to undertake an expansion of the trade zone and associated improvements along with the planned seismic upgrades funded by SPL."
That was a reference to Stride Property, an associated NZX-listed business, trading today at $2.30.
"Investore will contribute approximately $6 million towards the expansion and improvement works with associated improvements rental and a new 10-year lease on completion," the statement said.
In its latest half-year report, Investore listed 2 Carr Rd as being valued by Savills at $49.2m, making it the company's most valuable in a portfolio of $980m.
Bunnings NZ director Jacqui Coombes said: "We're sorry to have to close the store until further notice but we have to make sure our stores are safe for team and customers and we thank customers for their understanding.
"We are making sure our team are looked after during this time and we will redeploy them to nearby stores or offer individual options that work for them. We are working with our landlord and engineers on next steps and we'll update our customers and the community as soon as we can.
"Retail customers can continue to shop with us at Manukau, Grey Lynn, Mount Wellington or New Lynn stores or online by selecting one of these stores as their closest store on our website and items will be delivered to their homes," she said.
Investore only bought the big Bunnings for $48.5m about a year ago, purchased from associate Stride. A December 2019 independent appraisal of the deal was carried out by consultants Northington Partners.
Buying the Bunnings and two other properties for $140.7m was partly funded by an underwritten share placement of $65m million and retail offer of $12.7m.
The deal was fair for shareholders in both vendor Stride and purchaser Investore, Northington concluded. Under its terms, Stride agreed to "certain seismic strengthening works", the consultants noted.
Investore shares are today trading at $2.20, giving that business a market capitalisation of $809m.