Office supplies company OfficeMax will close its entire New Zealand retail network later this year, after a shift from in-store to online purchases was compounded by the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision will see all 14 OfficeMax stores close "toward the end of October", managing director Kevin Obern revealed in an email to customers on Wednesday morning.
In a statement to Newshub, Obern said 55 of its more than 600 New Zealand staff members would lose their jobs as a result of the change.
"OfficeMax New Zealand has made the difficult decision to close its retail network to reshape its business for the future, as it adapts to a changing market," Obern said.
"This has been a very difficult decision as the stores have been part of our business and local communities for many years, and our priority at this time is to support our team - particularly those team members directly impacted."
The decision means OfficeMax's stores in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Hastings, Invercargill, Nelson, New Plymouth, Rotorua and Tauranga will be shut down within the next three months.
Obern says OfficeMax is now consulting with affected retail workers to discuss the implications of the decision, which was made after a retail review exposed a need to "better position ourselves for the future".
"The trend to increasing online purchasing, as well as changing office and work practices, compounded by COVID-19, means we need to evolve to remain relevant to today’s market," he said.
OfficeMax says it is now "investing heavily in distribution facilities" in Auckland and Christchurch to enhance its delivery service.