Whitcoulls sold to NBR Rich List Norman family

Anne and David Norman, whose retail empire includes the Farmers chain, have bought the Whitcoulls and Borders New Zealand book stores.

Anne and David Norman, whose retail empire includes the Farmers chain, have bought the Whitcoulls and Borders New Zealand book stores for an undisclosed sum.

The sale comes three months after Whitcoulls was placed in administration when its Australian parent company, RedGroup Retail, collapsed owing unsecured creditors $21.5 million.

Administrator Steve Sharman of Ferrier Hodgson said a sale had been agreed with Project Mark Limited, a company in the Norman’s James Pascoe Group.

Mr Sharman said the sale was a “very good result.”

“The sale guarantees the future of the majority of stores and has preserved more than 900 jobs. The James Pascoe Group is known for reviving businesses and has a strong record of investment in their stores, stock and people.”

The sale includes 57 Whitcoulls stores and five Borders stores. It is hoped the sale will be completed by mid-June.

Ferrier Hodgson have previoulsy sold 10 Whitcoulls stores at airports throughout New Zealand to Australia-based travel specialist LS Travel Pacific for an undisclosed sum.Eight Bennetts stores have also been sold to New Zealander Geoff Spong, the founder of university textbook retailer VOL. 1.

The James Pascoe Group operates the brands Pascoes, Farmers, Stewart Dawsons, Goldmark, Stevens, Prouds and Angus & Coote. The group employs over 9,000 employees in New Zealand and Australia.

Anne Norman is the granddaughter of Pascoes founder James Pascoe, who opened the first store in 1906. The group bought Farmers in 2004 for $122.3 million and since then has given it a major facelift.

Last year Anne and David Norman were valued at $400 million on the NBR Rich List.

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