Iconic Smith & Caughey's store set to close in 2025

Auckland's iconic department store Smith & Caughey's is set to close early next year.

In a statement, chairman Tony Caughey said the company had begun a consultation process with its staff about the potential closure of its retail operations in Queen St and Newmarket, and online retail stores, likely in early 2025.

This proposal will be under consultation for approximately five weeks and was announced to 240 staff on Wednesday morning.

"Presenting this proposal has been a deeply emotional time for the people connected to this historic establishment. We are acutely mindful of the impact to staff, customers and suppliers by the proposal," said Caughey.

Caughey said the business had operated as a cornerstone of retail excellence on Queen St for 144 years.

The company was founded by Marianne Smith in 1880 who was joined soon after by her husband William Smith and brother Andrew Caughey.

"However, over the last five years we have experienced a 40 percent decline in revenue from  our physical stores from factors largely outside our control. As a result, the company is trading at a significant loss which is unsustainable," Tony Caughey said.

"Sadly, we do not believe sales can be  restored to levels necessary to continue to operate."

Over the past two years, the company said it engaged professional advisers to come up with strategic options for the future viability of the business.

"Sadly, we don't believe this is a storm to be weathered."

Tony Caughey also said the company is mindful of its role in family traditions and the gap the annual Christmas experience would leave, which is why the store would close in early 2025.

"Whatever the outcome of the consultation process, our intention is still to offer our traditional experience of inspiring world class Christmas windows, Santa's Enchanted Forest and Santa Claus himself."

The Queens St and Newmarket stores will remain closed for the rest of Wednesday but will re-open as usual on Thursday.