Long-time Auckland menswear retailer winds down business

Author
Aimee Shaw - NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 28 Aug 2019, 3:56PM
Inside menswear retailer Leo O'Malley, located on Karangahape Rd. Photo / Google Images

Long-time Auckland menswear retailer winds down business

Author
Aimee Shaw - NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 28 Aug 2019, 3:56PM

Decades-old Auckland menswear retailer Leo O'Malley is closing down.

The one-store Karangahape Rd retailer which specialises in hats and formal suits will close its doors for good on October 1 after being in the business for 84 years.

The store sells a large range of hats, from a number of brands including Akubra, many priced at over $100. Suits on its website are priced at $500 and above.

Companies Office records show Leo O'Malley Ltd was first established in 1935.

Leo O'Malley owner and director John Eggleton told the Herald the business and retail store was closing as he wanted "a change".

He said the business was not struggling, but later said the location of the store and ongoing construction for work on the City Rail Link (CRL) in the area "didn't help".

"It's just time for a change," Eggleton said, when pressed for more information about why the business was winding down its operations.

Mid-market clothing retailers have been struggling in New Zealand's ever-challenging retail environment in recent years.

Earlier in the year iconic New Zealand menswear chain Munns closed after 100 years in business, after years of falling sales and increased competition from foreign giants.

In May, clothing label Miss Crabb wound up its business and shut up shop, along with New Zealand shoe retailer Minnie Cooper a year earlier. Kiwi clothing brand Andrea Moore has also shut up shop in recent years.

Leo O'Malley will close its store for good on October 1. Photo / Leo O'Malley Facebook page
Leo O'Malley will close its store for good on October 1. Photo / Leo O'Malley Facebook page

Retail analyst Chris Wilkinson said traditional independent menswear retailers were "fast losing ground to more contemporary brands and cheaper alternatives", which had left the middle market left "searching for its market".

"It's a real pity, but this is a familiar picture in this category," Wilkinson said.

"Online, less formal working environments and the trend toward 'vertical' businesses strengthening position, such as Rembrandt who make and sell, have further challenged the older format stores trying to cater for very broad markets."

Karangahape Rd, though going through a period of disruption with work on the CRL, would bring significant benefits to businesses in the area in years to come, Wilkinson said.

"This area is likely to see significant regeneration with CRL's benefits in the future, so will be increasingly valuable. There may, however, be some headwinds between now and then, which also may have been a consideration [for Leo O'Malley]."