Hold-up on Whitcoulls sale

Written By Lingkar Dunia on Saturday, May 21, 2011 | 7:01 PM

As of Friday, Norman family on the brink of closing deal

BusinessDay.co.nz reports that the deal of buy Whitcoulls is close to finalizing, but part of the sales agreement has to be renegotiated.

The Whitcoulls chain of New Zealand bookstores, owned by REDgroup, was put into voluntary administration in February (along with Borders), and has been up for sale since March.

Anne and David Norman, widely tipped to take over, have built up a retail empire over three decades.

Anne Norman's grandfather, James Pascoe, founded the Pascoes jewellery chain in 1906.  This has been expanded into Australasia's biggest chain of jewellery stores, including Stewart Dawsons, Prouds, Goldmark, and Angus & Coote.

The couple bought department store chain Farmers, in 2003.  They also own a homeware chain, Stevens.

Altogether, they own 607 stores, and employ about 9000 staff.

The deal to take over Whitcoulls was due to close May 3, but there have been undescribed hitches.  Employment contracts may be the problem, involving likely job losses.

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