New Zealand lingerie brand Bendon says 17 staff are likely to lose their jobs through a restructuring that will see its design operations shift to Sydney.

Twelve members of its 29-strong Auckland design and development team were expected to transfer to Australia, the company said.

Communications manager Rachael Parkin said redundancies were likely for the remaining 17.

The news had been announced to staff on Friday afternoon and the company was still working through the details, she said.

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Chief executive Justin Davis-Rice said Bendon had moved to the "most efficient operating infrastructure".

In August, Eric Watson's Cullen Investments merged Bendon, its lingerie brand, with Australian competitor Pleasure State.

Despite the likely job losses, Davis-Rice said the response to the relocation announcement had been "overwhelmingly positive".

The spread of business functions across the company's five international offices had been consolidated, he said.

"Over the past 12 months, Bendon has centralised all finance, IT, supply chain, demand planning and key corporate functions into the Auckland head office."

The company said 11 new roles had been created in Auckland, with additional new jobs expected next year.

Bendon was expanding its retail network with three new stores opening in New Zealand this month, the firm said. New brands would also be launched next year.

Founded in 1947 by Ray and Des Hurley, Bendon once employed hundreds of machinists in provincial towns such as Te Aroha and Te Rapa. It laid off most of its staff in1999 when all manufacturing was shifted to China.

The Bendon brand and Pleasure State are unlisted and the terms of the August merger were not disclosed.