Kmart ushers in a new chapter in New Zealand with purpose-built Hamilton distribution centre

Kmart New Zealand has announced it will open a new 40,000 sqm distribution centre at the Ruakura Superhub in Hamilton, following a planned move from its distribution centre in Wiri, South Auckland.

The new distribution centre is scheduled to be operational in late 2023 and will service the long-term needs of Kmart’s New Zealand stores and many customers in the North Island.

Kmart Chief Executive Officer, John Gualtieri, said this significant investment signals a new chapter for the retailer and is a great stepping-stone to Kmart’s future growth in New Zealand.

“Moving to a larger, purpose-built facility in the high-profile Ruakura Superhub will allow us to improve availability for customers and meet future business needs, through improved productivity, reliable flow of stock to stores and shipment diversification,” said Mr Gualtieri.

The new facility, located on nine hectares, will include warehousing, distribution, storage, a container yard, and an office facility. The site will benefit from direct access to the Ruakura Inland Port which will provide rail access to the Port of Tauranga, minimising road transport costs and reducing carbon emissions. Kmart engaged global supply chain and business transformation consultancy, TMX, to lead the procurement of a new facility and via a competitive tender process the development was awarded to Tainui Group Holdings to build and lease back the distribution centre.

“We’re delighted to be working with Tainui Group Holdings, not only due to their development capability, but also the strong sense of community both of our businesses share. Tainui Group’s deep commitment to its iwi (tribe), Waikato-Tainui, and the prosperity of the region and people, is something that Kmart is proud to support,” Mr Gualtieri said.

Tainui Group Holdings Chair, Hinerangi Raumati-Tu’ua said the company and Waikato-Tainui iwi looks forward to partnering with Kmart to unlock the full economic, social and environmental benefits of Ruakura for their business, team members, customers and suppliers.

“Kmart is a global leader in the retail industry and their decision to locate at Ruakura will also create further employment opportunities in the Waikato, including for our iwi members, and we are committed to working with Kmart to create a pathway for this,” she said.

Chris Joblin, Chief Executive of Tainui Group Holdings said, “We’re delighted to welcome Kmart to the Ruakura Superhub. This new building will be one of the largest of its kind in New Zealand, spanning the area of four rugby fields, and we’ll work closely with Kmart to get the full potential from their proximity to the inland port, rail and road connections. Alongside other global and national players set to commence operations at Ruakura in the next 24 months, this move endorses Ruakura and the region as the home of logistics. It will bring great economic benefits for the Waikato and New Zealand.”

The new Kmart distribution centre will be developed in line with the Greenstar 4 rating. Sustainability features will include solar panels generating up to 300kW of power, rainwater harvesting, onsite stormwater treatment, electronic vehicle charging stations, bike racks and end of trip facilities. Construction of the facility will include low VOC (volatile organic compound) paints, LED lighting, double glazing, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems that use low emission refrigerants, and close to 20 per cent of the overall site will be landscaped.

TMX Director of Property, New Zealand, Sam Smith, said, “The Ruakura Superhub is a prime location for business and we were pleased to help Kmart secure this sought-after location. The facility will incorporate cutting edge technology including autonomous mobile robot (AMR) technology. With the retailing landscape changing as a result of Covid-19 and consumer preferences, the investment in a new bespoke, custom-built warehouse will enable Kmart to distribute product via multiple channels and efficiently handle their dynamic range of inventory.”

Kmart will close its Wiri distribution centre after the new Hamilton facility is operational. All existing Kmart team members at Wiri will be offered a role at the new distribution centre, which will provide more than 100 jobs when operational. Until this time, the Wiri facility will remain in operation and continue to service Kmart’s customers across its New Zealand store network.

With 25 Kmart stores in New Zealand and an expansive online store, Kmart has revolutionised the way New Zealanders shop, providing families with everyday products at the lowest prices. The Kmart brand has massive customer love across Australia and New Zealand for its affordable and stylish range of products.

“Kmart is confident that, along with our Christchurch distribution centre servicing the South Island, the new DC in Hamilton will ensure the business is well-placed to efficiently service our stores and customers across New Zealand and allow for further growth,” said Mr Gualtieri.

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