Owners of the three-month-old huge new $30 million Mitre 10 Mega Silverdale are laying off some staff but its boss says “the majority” have been deployed into adjusted rosters.
“We consulted with team members, provided options and we have deployed the majority of the team into adjusted rosters,” said Cam Caithness, managing director of Riviera Hardware Holdings.
“After opening and trading our new store for over three months in a tough economic environment, we now understand customer traffic patterns at Mitre 10 Mega Silverdale and we needed to realign rosters across our team accordingly.”
Riviera, which employs around 700 people, topped the Herald’s power list of Mitre 10 owners on Friday.
It owns Mitre 10 Mega Albany, Mitre 10 Mega New Lynn, Mitre 10 Mega Warkworth, Mitre 10 Whangaparāoa, Mitre 10 Mega Silverdale, Riviera Prenail, five Columbus Coffee cafes, Riviera Imports and the Riviera Distribution Centre.
That business is the single most powerful in the giant DIY home and garden retailer network.
One Silverdale staff member said he and others at all five Riviera stores were being made redundant and he expressed disappointment and disillusionment.
But the statement from Caithness in response said “the majority” of staff were retained.
The staffer got a letter from store manager, Sam Singh, saying a consultation process had been launched with staff on November 2.
That proposed changes including roles being disestablished.
The letter said feedback was sought but the decision had been taken to move to a new structure and that staffer said the role held was “disestablished”.
“Every attempt will be made to redeploy you to another role if there are current vacancies which you choose to apply for,” that letter said.
If it wasn’t possible to find a new role at Silverdale, employment with Riviera would end by redundancy so the letter gave notice of that.
Bill Bradford of First Union said the union didn’t have an overall relationship with Mitre 10 because it was a co-operative.
But some union members were employed by the Silverdale business, he said.
Bradford said retail sector layoffs were relatively rare, especially at this time of the year. He was surprised about the Silverdale store layoffs, given the store only opened three months ago.
The staffer told the Herald: “The store at Silverdale has had over 20 staff leave since its opening and none replaced. There are five more going, either leaving or made redundant. This is not just happening in Silverdale but right across the Riviera-owned stores,” he said referring to other Riviera outlets.
The Herald put questions to Caithness about how many staff were going but that wasn’t answered.
The staffer also sent a Mitre 10 document headed “Rationale for changes to the current structure”.
Full-time roster patterns of Tuesday-Saturday and Sunday-Thursday resulted in the highest density of rostered team members being on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Yet that wasn’t when most people spent the most money.
A typical customer spending pattern in retail is Monday, 10 per cent; Tuesday, 14 per cent; Wednesday, 14 per cent; Thursday, 13 per cent; Friday, 18 per cent; Saturday, 16 per cent; and Sunday, 16 per cent, the document said.
“This highlighted inefficiencies with our rostering practices and the opportunity to look at all department rosters.
“We have now completed a roster analysis of all departments in store and have made proposed changes to ensure we achieve our objective of lowering labour costs while ensuring we maintain customer service standards and replenishment duties,” the document said.
Another Mitre 10 document the staffer received was headed ‘what might this mean for me?’
That listed front-end team member roles, seasonal specialist and team member roles, showroom department, plumbing department and paint department.
In each area, disestablishment was proposed, staff were invited to apply for new shifts and if the proposal was confirmed and shifts were made redundant, there was an opportunity to apply for new shift schedule roles, the document said.
When the Silverdale store opened, Jules Lloyd-Jones, chief marketing officer, said it would be 11,000sq m. That’s around the same size as Westgate’s Costco Wholesale.
Many changes were made to the design, layout and how goods are presented.
Digital shelf labels, a new style of showroom and a treehouse-style playground built mostly of timber are features of the shop at 35 Colin Chester Dr.
A new car park layout designed more with pedestrians in mind and a garden centre combining plants with landscaping features are other innovations.
Anne Gibson has been the Herald’s property editor for 23 years, has won many awards, written books and covered property extensively here and overseas.