The proprietor of the building that houses the Flaxmere New World supermarket was taken aback upon learning of the store’s imminent closure, expressing astonishment at having gone to great lengths to accommodate the country’s largest grocery retailer.

On Thursday, Foodstuffs declared that the building no longer met their standards, asserting that despite substantial investment in refurbishment by the landlord, the structure could not be brought up to the desired level for both the team and customers.

The closure of the store is scheduled for February 25, and consultations with the 60 employees have already commenced.

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The building is a part of the Flaxmere Village Shopping Centre, established in 1976-77. Serving as the anchor tenant, the supermarket is central to the center, which encompasses 25 tenancies across 2.1 hectares.

Owned by the Jee M Sung’s Sung Family Trust since 2008, the shopping center was acquired for $4.2 million and currently holds a council valuation of $9.5 million.

Trust spokesman Peter Song conveyed to Stuff on Friday the surprise at Foodstuffs’ decision not to renew the lease, emphasizing the efforts made to accommodate the grocery retailer. Renovation work, including roof repairs and additional parking spaces, had been undertaken at their request. Despite initial discussions about joint responsibilities for the building’s exterior and interior, the lease was not renewed after the landlord had fulfilled their commitments.

According to Song, a recent dispute arose over insufficient power supply, which, upon inspection by power contractors, was deemed normal. When the suggestion to upgrade the switchboard was made, Foodstuffs opted to withdraw from the lease.


The Jee M Sung’s Sung Family Trust has owned the Flaxmere Shopping Centre since 2008. (File photo)

Inquiries about the future of the site are underway, with Song stating that agencies are exploring potential tenants. However, the short notice and limited options in the supermarket industry present challenges. The shopping center was put up for sale in 2020 but did not find a buyer.

Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst mentioned ongoing efforts by the council to attract another supermarket to Flaxmere, acknowledging the challenges posed by the closure. Plans for a new retail complex, including a New World supermarket, announced in late 2021, were abandoned in April of the following year due to economic viability concerns, but the council continues to actively seek another supermarket operator for the area.