History

Celebrating three decades of Kiwi success!

From small beginnings in Wairau Road in 1982, Sir Stephen Tindall’s amazing entrepreneurial ability combined with his team’s commitment to “give anything a go” shows you indeed that “nothing is impossible”. 

In 1982 New Zealand was quite a different country; imports of many products were restricted so consumers didn’t have much choice and the products that were available were often expensive.  The government had imposed a wage and price freeze and getting a housing loan required a savings record for 3 years before you were able to borrow at 18% interest and more!  Shopping in New Zealand meant going to stores like George Courts and Haywrights; big established stores in towns and cities.  Stephen and his team took a different approach; The Warehouse was located in the suburbs, with basic sheds, bins and racks and concrete floors.  The Warehouse sold things never seen before in NZ such as banana loungers, rattan blinds and soccer ball radios, in fact the first Warehouse stores were filled with things that other companies couldn’t sell!  When sales took off Stephen and his team went looking for suppliers and goods from around the world that could provide real bargains for Kiwi shoppers.  With a relentless focus on keeping costs down and reinvesting profits to ensure prices were low the company culture began to develop in a unique (and successful) manner. 

The other way in which The Warehouse was different to its competitors related to the people who worked for it – from the very beginning they mattered.  There were Friday night barbeques, monthly team meetings and a chance to socialize afterwards, the famous red t-shirts worn by all staff including managers made it clear that everyone was working together as one team.  Even today the legendary Birthday Day Off and annual company Conference with partners are important cornerstones of The Warehouse’s approach to its people. 

An appetite for growth and a desire to see every New Zealander offered the opportunity to “enjoy a bargain” has seen The Warehouse grow from just 2 stores at the end of 1982 to 92 stores today.

Timeline:

1982: First store opened in Takapuna, Auckland. 

1990: First nationally distributed advertising mailer. 

1991: Sales exceed $100 million. 

1991: First Warehouse Stationery store opened

1992: Opening of first store of 25,000 square feet (2,322m2)

1992: Launching of The Warehouse card

1992: Opening of first store of 50,000 square feet (4,645m2)

1994: Public float and listing on the New Zealand Stock Exchange

1995: The Warehouse added to NZSE40 Index

1995: Introduction of green gardening department

1996: Opening of North Island Distribution Centre

1996: Introduction of the major AEG brand

1997: Introduction of the first store of 75,000 square feet (6,967m2)

1998: Introduction of apparel as a major department

1998: First shipment of parallel imported goods

2000: The Warehouse added to the NZSE10 index

2000: Sales exceed $1 billion

2000: Opening of the first store of 100,000 square feet (9,290m2)

2001: The Warehouse Financial Services launched

2001: First Triple Bottom Line Report produced

2002: The Warehouse celebrates its 20th Birthday

2007: Opening of The Warehouse Extra

2007: The Warehouse celebrates 25th Birthday

2009: Exit Fresh Food and Liquor

2009: The Warehouse online shopping launched

2012: The Warehouse completes full range online

2012: The Warehouse celebrates 30 year and still going strong!

2013: The Warehouse Group purchases Noel Leeming Group

2013: The Warehouse Group purchases

  • Torpedo 7
  • No 1 Fitness
  • Shotgun Supplements
  • Shop HQ (www.pet.co.nz)

2013: The Warehouse Group purchases Insight Traders

2014: The Warehouse Group purchases R&R Sport and SchoolTex