Business Scoop

Bennetts Back In New Zealand Hands

Press Release – Bennetts

An iconic brand and 30 jobs have been saved following the acquisition of the Bennetts Bookshops chain by a family-owned New Zealand company.


30 April 2011

Bennetts Back In New Zealand Hands
An iconic brand and 30 jobs have been saved following the acquisition of the Bennetts Bookshops chain by a family-owned New Zealand company.

The newly formed Bennetts Bookstores Limited announced today it has purchased the Bennetts bookshop from the voluntary administrators of Whitcoulls Group Limited.

The deal for an undisclosed sum includes existing bookshops at Massey University in Palmerston North, Auckland and Wellington, Waikato University, Waikato Institute of Technology, Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, Manukau Institute of Technology, and Government Bookshop in Wellington.

Bennetts Bookstores Limited is a family-owned New Zealand company with significant experience in the student text industry. They plan to immediately focus on recovering the Bennetts brand, which has suffered from its parent group’s administration.

Managing Director Geoff Spong said his immediate goal is to rebuild the trust and confidence of staff, academics and students by ensuring second semester requirements are met.

“The student textbook business is about more than textbooks. It’s about focusing on the specific needs of lecturers and students and building long term relationships.

The head office will be run from Massey University’s Palmerston North campus, he said.

“Bennetts is synonymous with Palmerston North, having been established there in 1889. We can run the whole chain, including online sales, from our Massey Campus store and it means we are close to our key partner of Massey University and centrally located to our other key contracts in the North and South Islands.”
Mr Spong brings a wealth of experience to the sector, having founded the university textbook retailer VOL. 1 in 1995. VOL. 1 operated stores in Auckland, Palmerston North, Hamilton and Dunedin along with a successful online and mail order segment.

Sean Woodward, Invercargill-based lawyer and director of the new Bennetts, added: “This acquisition not only secures the jobs of 30 shop employees, but will re-empower the front line staff to run the stores they know so well. Many of our staff have over 10 years experience with Bennetts. We have no corporate overheads so all our resources will be focussed on providing a specialised service at each campus.

“While our first priority is delivering the semester two needs at the current stores, we’re also excited about the growth prospects for this business and firmly believe Bennetts has a pivotal role to play in supporting the education of thousands of students across the country.

“Bennetts has a proud history of book retailing dating back to 1889 and we plan to revitalise the existing relationships with academics, students, government and the general public, and then to quickly grow the business to new sites around the country.

“We are already planning new stores in Auckland. It is our ambition to deliver a dedicated and specialised offering to staff and students at the existing campuses, and eventually all tertiary institutions, from Invercargill to Whangarei.”

The new owners are delighted that all Bennetts frontline staff have agreed to continue employment on their existing terms and conditions, he said.


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