Big Australiancraft retailer Lincraft is about to move into Upper Hutt’s The Mall as a cornerstone tenant. Workers are about to create a new 1000 square metre store, which will take up a large portion of the downstairs area near Farmers and T&T. The site is currently open space and some structural changes will be involved, taking out the pedestrian
Big Australiancraft retailer Lincraft is about to move into Upper Hutt’s The Mall as a cornerstone tenant.
Workers are about to create a new 1000 square metre store, which will take up a large portion of the downstairs area near Farmers and T&T.
The site is currently open space and some structural changes will be involved, taking out the pedestrian ramp and replacing it with a lift.
Lincraft’s arrival is expected to be a welcome boost to Upper Hutt’s shopping area which has been working hard to lure new businesses to the area.
In Australia, Lincraft has 75 stores and is a rival to Spotlight.
“They do more homeware and kitchenware…I would say we have slightly better ranges in craft, we possibly have a better range in fabric..but I think that’s very much a generalisation..We’re very similar,” said Lincraft’s owner Brian Swersky .
Lincraft had been in the South Island for three years and had three stores there with a fourth on the drawing board.
Another four stores planned for the North Island – Upper Hutt,Taupo, Thames and one other that was too sensitive to name.
Swersky said Upper Hutt had been chosen because the mall’s landlord also owned Christchurch’s Bush Inn centre, where Lincraft has a store.
“It was a combination of looking where our competitor is, the level of comfort with the landlord and starting the journey into the North Island.”
He said the store would employ about 20 to 30 staff for the inital set-up and keep 10 on permenantly when it opens in mid-October.
He said Lincraft had not received a business incentive to go to Upper Hutt, but thought the mall’s management might have.
Covering 17,000sqm, The Mall dates back to the 1970s when it was developed by AMP and called the Logan Plaza. In 2012, it was put up for mortgagee sale and bought by Auckland retail property investor Andrew Budge.
Budge told media in March that a big retailer was coming to the mall and that a new cinema operator would reopen the old Ascot cinema, which closed last year.
He championed the Upper Hutt City Council’s incentive programme and invited the public to suggest a new name for the mall.
“We are overdue a fresh start. This project will create a renewed sense of pride about the heart of our town and . . . I believe we deserve a new name to reflect this new beginning.”
However, the economic stimulus package has created some controversy, after it was revealed an existing business, Subway, was given a grant for expansion and that Burger Fuel had received $32,000 for a new store.
Burger Fuel said the incentive had been crucial in its decision to move into Upper Hutt.
Retail consultant Chris Wilkinson of First Retail Group said there was disquiet in local government circles about Upper Hutt’s incentives because they were not sustainable, and because some of the recipients were already well established.
“If you’re going to have an incentive, you need to have a really strong strategy that sits behind it, that looks at the kinds of businesses that you want. I think what’s happened is they incentivised a business that’s actually already there.”
Wilkinson said any marketing strategy in Upper Hutt needed to remember not only the mall and the individual shops but the big box retail strip where Mitre 10 and Briscoes were. It also needed to consider not only supporting the new businesses but the competitors that may be displaced.