Farmers Trading Company History&Departments

Farmers Trading Company History&Departments

Farmers Trading Company Ltd (branded as Farmers Trading Company Ltd (branded as Farmers) is a New Zealand mid-market department store chain. The company’s headquarters are at Flat Bush, Auckland, Farmers, which has more than 58 New Zealand stores specializing in family clothing, homewares, beauty furniture, large appliances, and whiteware.


Robert Laidlaw founded Laidlaw Leeds in 1909 and began selling agricultural goods via mail order catalogs, following an established American model. A decade later, in 1910, a small group of Auckland Members from the Farmers Union formed the Farmers Union Indenting and Trading Association. The Clevedon branch was one of them. They voted for the association’s establishment at a meeting in July 1910. In 1916 the trading organization was transformed into the Farmers Union Trading Company (Auckland) Ltd. In 1917 the Farmers Union Trading Co. reached out to Laidlaw Leeds with an offer to join forces and merge, which Laidlaw took up and was the director in charge of the new venture, the Farmers Trading Company. The company later expanded into retail and eventually adopted a department store model. There was also an older, unrelated Farmers Department Store in Sydney, Australia.

The main operation was a high-rise office and warehouse complex on Auckland’s Hobson Street. In 1920, a store was made available for the general public to use in the building. The co-op also bought local stores within Auckland. Auckland province in the year 1920, and by the time, it was home to 32 stores and provided preferred shares to members who resided in urban areas.

In the 1930s, a massive extension was added to the original 1914 structure that comprised The Harbour View Tea Rooms. The architect, R. A. Lippencott, was also responsible for giving the building an upgraded façade in the modern style of Art Deco style. Hobson Street was not an ideal location for a department store, so following a similar model as those of retailers in American city centers, the Laidlaw organized free transportation to take customers to and from Queen Street to the Hobson Street store. It was later followed by a tram that was free to Karangahape Road.

In the years that followed, the adjacent sites were covered with administration buildings and warehouses to accommodate the expanding business. Laidlaw, a teetotaler, decided to purchase the nearby pub, The Grosvenor, and make its offices. Along with the roof-top tearooms and playground, Farmers was also noted for its parking facility, a high-rise connected to the shop via an elevated skyway. Much like other buildings built in the 1920s and beyond, it featured electric lifts, which increased in size as the building increased in dimensions. The store also had the first escalators to be found in Auckland that were inaugurated in 1955 by the Mayor of Auckland and J H Luxford and Mrs. J H Luxford and Mrs. Luxford. They cut the ribbon, and the official ceremony took place on the escalators with an audience of curious Aucklanders and the store’s character Hector, The parrot.
In 1991, the massive CBD store was left in a state of disrepair for several years until it was turned into a luxury hotel inaugurated in 1998. Most Farmer’s stores are anchor stores in shopping centers, and their larger stores are in the suburbs.

The store was the first flagship of the historical in the Auckland CBD. The hotel is now a hotel company that expanded from one store in the 1910s to 56 by 1990 due to opportunities and take-overs. Farmers and the DEKA discount store chain joined Farmers Deka Ltd in 1992. The DEKA chain was shut down in July of 2001 due to financial difficulties in competing in the market with The Warehouse discount stores. Farmers Deka Ltd was then changed to Farmers Holdings Ltd.

Farmers have been traditionally an average-priced retailer comparable to Sears and J C Penney in the United States. With the recent expansion of The Warehouse (a Walmart kind of retail store), Farmers chose to be a more popular retail store, with more and more branded merchandise. While Farmers had previously competed with The Warehouse (nationwide) and several small chain stores, they’ve carved themselves out from the discount retailer.

Farmers are still competing with other departmental stores, Smith and Caughey’s, Ballantynes, and H & J Smith None of these are national.Farmers shut down their Queen Street, Auckland, store on its rented premises in 2014 after the expiration of a lease for a long term. In November 2015, the company launched an additional store on the intersection of Queen and Victoria Streets, formerly occupied by the stationery seller Whitcoulls, which was renovated to become a three-level Farmers departmental store.

The department of farmers includes womenswear, beauty products, such as services for cosmetics, fine fragrance health, and beauty, as well as sunglasses; lingerie, which includes sleepwear; menswear which includes the mercery category; accessories such as footwear, luggage, and for home, which includes tableware, kitchenware, giftware and laundry; Manchester, including bathroom ware, small appliances and children’s clothing, such as children’s clothes, toys, and nursery furniture, with electronics, and large appliances/whiteware at the flagship stores like Albany or St Lukes. The Christmas Store, as well as confectionery, are available from October to December. The other James Pascoe Group companies, Goldmark (previously the JPG brands Prouds and Goldmark) Prouds) and Stevens, also offer stores-within-store outlets in selected Farmers stores.

Since its purchase in 2003 from James Pascoe Group in 2003 James Pascoe Group, the chain has been focusing exclusively on lucrative beauty segments. The departments that are not profitable or losing money, like computers and hardware, were eliminated.

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