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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Whitcoulls airport shops sold

In a rather confusing press release, LS Travel Retail Pacific, formerly known as Lagardere Services Asia Pacific, is to buy up to 10 Whitcoulls airport stores -- five in Auckland, two in Wellington, two in Christchurch, and one in Rotorua, after reaching an agreement with REDgroup administrators.

Whitcoulls, along with Borders and Angus & Robertson, are under voluntary administration in Australia and New Zealand.  It sounds as if more than the airport stores are involved in this deal, as while I have not checked lately, and maybe mere stalls are being counted, I have a strong feeling that Auckland does not have five Whitcoulls bookstores sited at the airport.

It should be easy to work out when the transfer is complete, though, as the Whitcoulls stores that have been bought will become part of the Relay brand, joining 1,200 stores in 18 countries, including 50 or so in the Asia/Pacific region.

LS Travel Retail Pacific CEO Scott Raisin said, "New Zealand is an important market within the Pacific region, and we are excited to commence operations here with our global brand, Relay."

Reassuringly, he is committed to retaining the 100-plus staff members involved, saying, "On a commercial level, we acknowledge that the success of our New Zealand operation will benefit from the commitment and dedication of the local team."

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