Aussies claim another victory as Pacific Brands gets set to cull two Kiwi departments

  • Marketing
  • August 29, 2011
  • Ben Fahy
Aussies claim another victory as Pacific Brands gets set to cull two Kiwi departments

They just won the rugby. And soon the Aussies might also be photoshopping Dan and Honor, designing our Y-fronts and marketing a range of clothing, shoe and houseware labels because it seems Pacific Brands has decided to close down the marketing and design departments in New Zealand and move the whole shebang to its Melbourne base. 

When asked whether this was the case, Pacific Brands New Zealand general manager Vicky Thompson said "not in its entirety" as it's still "under a proposal".

She wouldn't comment on anything to do with the possible move or speak about the number of job losses that could result. Nor would she say whether it would affect its agency roster (slightly ironically, Jockey's latest campaign featuring Dan Carter asked Kiwis to show their support). Instead she pointed us in the direction of Australian media contact Karl Woodcock. He wasn't able to offer much more information, aside from saying there's still some consultation taking place.

It seems like it's a done deal, however, because he admitted some staff have been offered the chance to relocate to Melbourne and there will be redundancies, although he couldn't confirm the numbers or comment on whether, as we've been led to believe, Thompson was among them. It's thought there could be as many as 30-40 staff in these two departments. But the sales team is likely to remain in place.

Pacific Brands has been on a mission to cut-costs in recent years and closed down its Christchurch offices and consolidated its Kiwi operations in Auckland around two years ago (Harvey Cameron used to do the advertising before the shift north).

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The Melbourne-based company, which sells a range of brands including Jockey, Bonds, Holeproof, Stussy, Diesel, Slazenger and Mooks, announced a full-year loss of A$131.5 million last week, with overall sales falling 7.3 percent to A$1.6 billion and underwear and hosiery reporting a 0.8 percent decline in sales.

"The prevailing headwinds in the retail sector are presently masking some substantial underlying improvements we are making within the business," said chief executive Sue Morphet. "Our decision to source more of our products off-shore and manage with a leaner cost base was critical to the improved (underlying) result and will also help us deal with the significant cost pressures and other challenges we expect in the current year."

Weak retail conditions are expected to persist and input costs are rising due to higher cotton prices.

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