New Zealand high-fashion brand and retailer Zambesi has closed its Newmarket store amid disruption in the area and the rise of e-commerce.
Zambesi co-founder Neville Findlay, who has been running the clothing brand with his wife Liz for 38 years, said the decision to close the Newmarket store was partly due to recognising the importance of e-commerce.
"It was the end of the lease which we chose not to renew as we recognise a change in the balance between bricks and mortar and e commerce," Findlay said.
The Newmarket store closed mid September, but Findlay said the company was looking to open another store in Auckland and one overseas.
"We believe in the importance of physical retail so we plan expansion of our retail operations but will be more strategic when it comes to the precinct," he said.
"We are looking at areas outside of the inner city as we felt Newmarket was too close to our Ponsonby store which is doing much better."
Zambesi would never abandon its bricks and mortar presence, Findlay said.
The brand recently signed up to global online fashion retailer Farfetch and was putting more resource into its online store.
Findlay said he no longer had faith in the Newmarket retail scene.
"It is in a state of disruption," he said. "It's just a mess at the moment. With the whole new Westfield development it's not going to make it any easier. It's got a lot of potential in the future but right now it is a place where we are going to stay away from."
Mark Knoff-Thomas, chief executive of the Newmarket Business Association, said the Newmarket retail area was going through a period of change.
"We're going through a big development phase at the moment," Knoff-Thomas said.
"We're seeing some major developments starting which are having an impact on store movements and people moving around quite a bit."
Despite the disruption, Knoff-Thomas said the area was trading nicely.
"Generally speaking retail has been very good here in the last 10 consecutive quarters," he said. "There's certainly no mass exodus of retailers in Newmarket."
Simon James, Tony Sly Pottery, a Vodafone store, a Deuce concept store, and Wine Cave had recently opened in Newmarket and Jo Malone would be opening in Smith & Caughey in the coming weeks.
An array of new retailers were also set to open up in the area, although Knoff-Thomas could not confirm who.
Zambesi is set to change the location of its base in the new year, Findlay said.
"We are moving our headquarters to new premises in the New Year to improve efficiency and streamlining our operation so we can remain Made in NZ which is part of our enduring DNA."
Zambesi has three New Zealand stores and one in Melbourne.