Spark New Zealand To Take On Direct Management Of All Stores

By Ben Collins Features Dow Jones Newswires

Telecommunications company Spark New Zealand said Monday that it wants to directly manage all its retail stores currently run by dealer partners Leading Edge and Orb.

Continue Reading Below

The Auckland-based company said it is in the process of moving 26 retail stores around New Zealand from management by these partners to direct management by Spark, with the intention of all mall and high street consumer stores being under Spark ownership from late 2017.

Spark already 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, it said in a statement.

"A few years back, analysts were gloomily predicting the 'death of the high street'," said Spark general manager of customer channels Grant McBeath in a statement. "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," he said.

Spark said it was working closely with the dealer business owners to work out the details to ensure a smooth transition and that employees of the stores in question would now work for the company directly.

Shares in the company last traded at NZ$3.81, giving it a market capitalization of NZ$7 billion (US$5 billion).

Continue Reading Below

Write to Ben Collins at ben.collins@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 18, 2017 18:52 ET (22:52 GMT)