3 Jun 2014

Hallmark cuts NZ jobs

7:59 pm on 3 June 2014

Retailers' demands for higher standards of service are said to be partly to blame for the loss of 106 jobs at Hallmark Cards in New Zealand.

The card maker is consulting staff about cutting the mainly part-time positions and negotiating a deal with a local distributor to take up the delivery of cards to stores and supermarkets.

It is hoped some of the affected staff would be employed by the new distributor, though there were no guarantees. Six Auckland-based sales positions will go regardless.

Hallmark International chief executive Russell Parker told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme on Tuesday that retailers are demanding more from the company, including faster processing of orders, more frequent store visits and a wider product range.

"I don't want this to sound like we're the victims of what the retailers are asking for. They're doing it to us, they're in a competitive environment. They're asking for the best possible service for our current model because our warehouse is in Melbourne, because our staff are remote, because of the size of our business with some of these retailers just makes it unviable."

Mr Parker said it would be unprofitable to meet the retailers' demands and maintain current staff numbers.

Some staff would be offered new jobs under a deal with the local distributor, but not all would benefit, he said.

"To be very honest, that would be perfect ... however, that's unlikely. I think the reality is that there will be some people that we aren't able to move across."

Mr Parker would not identify the new distributor, saying a final announcement will be made on 20 June.