Stationery and offices supply retailer OfficeMax is set to close its entire retail store network including branches in Tauranga and Rotorua.
The retailer is proposing to close its retail stores towards the end of October and conduct all its business online.
OfficeMax managing director Kevin Obern, who confirmed the closure, said a total of seven team members worked across the Tauranga and Rotorua stores.
"OfficeMax New Zealand has made the difficult decision to close its retail network to reshape its business for the future, as it adapts to a changing market.
"This decision will see the closure of all 14 OfficeMax retail stores, located in Auckland (Mt Eden and Manukau), Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Hastings, Invercargill, Nelson, New Plymouth, Rotorua, Tauranga, Wellington (Central and Petone) and Whangarei.
"Sadly, this means approximately 55 retail roles will be disestablished," he said.
"This has been a very difficult decision as the stores have been part of our business and local communities for many years, and our priority at this time is to support our team – particularly those team members directly impacted.
"A retail review reflected the need for us as a business to make some really difficult decisions now, in order to position ourselves better for the future."
Obern said the trend to increasing online purchasing, as well as changing office and work practices compounded by Covid-19 meant the company needed to change and evolve to remain relevant to today's market.
"We are now working through a consultation process with all impacted retail team members to discuss the implications for individuals, " he said.
"While we work through this consultation process, our key focus is on those impacted by the closure of the network. We are consulting with impacted team members regarding redeployment."
Obern said further details around the store closures would be advised after the consultation process had been concluded.
"As you will appreciate we are unable to comment on confidential employment matters but OfficeMax will provide access to specialist outplacement support including career coaching, CV preparation, interview techniques and training," he said.
In 2017, OfficeMax merged with rival stationery company Staples, resulting in the loss of about 150 jobs.
The US-based global investment firm Platinum Equity had recently bought Staples at the time and was looking to acquire its main competitor, OfficeMax.
The Commerce Commission granted approval for the merger in 2015.
Retail chain Pricewise and distribution arm Zenith has been placed into receivership including a store at Bayfair Shopping Centre.