Glassons increases focus on NZ business to meet challenging retail environment Challenging times in retailing have prompted Hallenstein Glasson Holdings Limited to delay moving Glassons’ buying function to Melbourne. Acting Chief Executive Roy Dillon says an earlier decision to shift the buying team across the Tasman has been reassessed in the light of the very difficult business and retail environment. Mr Dillon says, “Our commitment to having a buying presence in Melbourne has not changed; however, we have had to reconsider whether the planned timing and extent of the Melbourne move were right for the business given the significant change in the retail environment in the interim. The result is that we have decided to focus on the establishment of an Auckland based buying office as a first priority.” Until now the Glassons’ buying team has been located in Christchurch. Today’s announcement means that from early 2009 Glassons’ buying, marketing and visual merchandising roles will become Auckland based. The Auckland buying office will continue to buy for both New Zealand and Australia but will be overseen by Tali Kalb, General Manager – Merchandise, based in the Melbourne office. She will be responsible for product direction and buying for both countries, as well as providing a very important “interface” with the Australian management team. Mr Dillon says “We believe the Auckland move will provide Glassons with greater exposure to the fashion direction and growth potential of New Zealand’s largest and most diverse market, as well as placing it at the centre of a larger pool of creative talent. The group remains very committed to growth in Australia but wishes to ensure this is underpinned by a sound New Zealand business.” Glassons will continue to maintain a significant presence in Christchurch. Finance, administration, property and group operations will remain in the south, as will the Glassons Distribution Centre. The distribution centre is a vital hub for the Glassons business. It has recently been expanded to manage the direct distribution to both New Zealand and Australian stores on a next day delivery basis.