Hardware and DIY retailer Bunnings is planning to close seven stores with the loss of as many as 145 jobs.
The Australian-owned business said it had reviewed its network given the effect on the sector from Covid-19 and decided the shops were no longer viable.
The affected stores are in Ashburton, Hornby, Hastings, Cambridge, Rangiora, Te Awamutu, and Putaruru.
Bunnings NZ director Jacqui Coombes said there had already been pressures before the pandemic.
"Despite the incredible efforts of our teams, the challenges at these stores have been exacerbated as a result of the Covid-19 environment and unfortunately these stores are no longer a viable part of our store network."
"While in this instance the decisions taken have largely been connected to the challenges of the recent trading environment, this proposal has taken into account other considerations including lease arrangements, individual store performance and suitability of location, with some of the stores always intended as temporary locations," Coombes said.
The Putaruru store had already been slated for closure before the pandemic. The others would close at the end of June.
Coombes said Bunnings' priority was staff welfare and looking at the options for those affected.
"This news is understandably upsetting and we will be working closely with our team during the consultation period to discuss their individual circumstances, including redeployment to other stores if possible."
Bunnings has about 4500 staff and has received $27.2 million in wage subsidies.
The company closed three small format stores at Te Aroha, Waikanae, and Paeroa last year, but plans new stores in Auckland and Queenstown.