Spark to take on direct management of all stores

Monday 19 June 2017 | 11:34 CET | News

Spark New Zealand has announced it is in the process of moving 26 retail stores around New Zealand from management by dealer partners Leading Edge and Orb to direct management by Spark. Spark plans to have all mall and high street consumer stores under its ownership from late 2017.

According to Grant McBeath, Spark GM of Customer Channels, Spark owning stores directly is a key part of building digital and real world experiences for its customers. “A few years back, analysts were gloomily predicting the ‘death of the high street’. However, while e-commerce and online channels are becoming a fundamental way that businesses reach their customers, we’re seeing a resurgence in the importance of physical locations to complement the digital experiences that businesses provide, McBeath said.

“For instance, while many customers are choosing to buy online, the option to visit a physical location to ‘click and collect’, exchange or return items, or simply get the opportunity to touch and feel a new device prior to purchase is increasingly seen as an attractive choice”, McBeath added.

Spark directly owns 36 stores. With the eventual addition of the 26 dealer stores, this will bring Spark’s total owned stores to 62. There are no plans to close stores. Spark also reports it is working with the dealer business owners to work out the details to ensure a smooth transition. Business hubs and hybrid stores (that offer both consumer and business solutions) will continue to be run by Leading Edge and Orb under the current dealer model.

Spark’s experience is that local small business owners prefer to deal with a local business owner, so the hybrid stores and business hubs will continue to offer this. Dealer employees who work for the stores that are being bought back will be offered the opportunity to stay with the store and move to direct employment with Spark.

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