The story of Hallensteins begins back in the gold-rush days of the late 1800’s. Bendix Hallenstein, the founder of our company, was born in Germany in 1835. He met his wife in Australia while running a general store with his two older brothers. Bendix and his family crossed the Tasman, and settled in Invercargill. He set up a general store, but after only a year the store was losing money. Bendix relocated to Queenstown, and opened further stores in Arrowtown, Cromwell and Lawrence.
Bendix found it hard to source good quality menswear from overseas, so he set up his own factory in Dunedin. The New Zealand Clothing Factory was the first clothing manufacturer in New Zealand. The factory prospered, and soon supplied clothing to retailers around the country.
Faced with a company heavily in debt in 1875, Bendix was forced to sell his factory to the National Insurance Company. However, the sale was on the condition that the Hallensteins Brothers could lease back the factory. They did so, and set up a cash-only retail store in Dunedin, selling single garments at wholesale prices.
The size of our company peaked in 1986 with 72 stores, but we now have far fewer stores, located in the main centres, from Whangarei to Invercargill.
The removal of import controls forced up the prices of locally made product, and we were forced to close our factories in 1986. We now source the majority of our product overseas, which enables us to sell quality clothing at the affordable prices for which we are renowned.
In 1985, we merged with Glassons, the highly successful women’s wear company. The merger resulted in a new listed company – Hallenstein Glasson Holdings Ltd.
Hallensteins under went quite considerable change, repositioning ourselves in the menswear market, and changing the type of clothing that we sell.
Our aim is to sell a more fashionable product, and to appeal to the fashion conscious customer more than we traditionally have. Our target customers are ‘young at heart’, rather than a particular age group.
We are also very keen to maintain our excellent reputation for selling clothing essentials that are excellent in value and quality. These items include jeans, chinos and T-shirts. While we will always aim to be fashionable, we recognise that our ongoing success will require a wide range of customers and products.