Retail Hall of Fame
The purpose of the New Zealand Retailers Association Retail Hall of Fame is to recognise and celebrate the achievements of those who have made a highly significant contribution to the New Zealand retail sector and display a commitment to fostering the vision, mission and values of the New Zealand Retailers Association, or more simply are committed to “Promoting Excellence in Retailing.”
1. To honour those individuals who have made a significant contribution to the New Zealand retail sector
2. To reinforce the role of retail in the wider business community
3. To provide inspiration and encouragement to those currently employed in the retail sector
2012 Retail Hall Of Fame Recipients
The purpose of the New Zealand Retailers Association Retail Hall of Fame is to recognise and celebrate the achievements of those who have made a highly significant contribution to the New Zealand retail sector.
The four inductees were honoured at the Auckland TOP SHOP® Retail Excellence Awards at The Langham on Wednesday 24 October.
Anne and David Norman – Pascoes Group CNZM
Often described as having retail running in their veins, both Anne and David Norman have slowly and surely built an impressive portfolio of retail businesses. From humble beginnings working together in a small building development company, they now run iconic retail brands including Pascoes, Stewart Dawsons, Goldmark, Prouds, Angus & Coote, Farmers, Stevens and Whitcoulls. The group has over 650 retail outlets and employs around 10,000 staff across New Zealand and Australia.
While their trading entities are well known, the Normans themselves prefer to maintain a low profile and are generally described as “quiet achievers.” They are, however, very active philanthropists, with their main charity being Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand. They also offer a Fellowship in Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, through the Medical and Health Sciences Faculty at University of Auckland.
Rodney Duke – Briscoes Group
Known as Mr Retail, Rod Duke has spent his whole working life in retail. Cutting his teeth with various retailers in South Australia, he moved to Sydney in the early eighties, where he held senior positions with well-known retail operations such as Homecraft, Grace Brothers and as the Managing Director of Norman Ross.
In late 1988, Rod accepted the position as Managing Director of Briscoes (New Zealand) Ltd – which was a subsidiary of Dutch company Hagemeyer. The purpose of the role was to make the company profitable and prepare for sale. He duly did that and reached agreement for the RA Duke Trust to purchase 100% of the Briscoes shares in early 1990. Rod remains the Group Managing Director.
In 1996 Rod established the Rebel Sport Chain, which continues to grow and flourish in New Zealand under the Briscoes Group alongside Briscoes Homeware and Living and Giving.
John Rowden Milne OBE
John Milne left Auckland Grammar to join the RNZAF. Three years later, in 1945, he joined his father Stuart and his brother Robert in a family department store business started by his Great Aunts Mary and Charlotte Milne, in 1867. His initial training included a year with David Jones in Sydney before becoming the inaugural manager of the Hamilton branch of Milne & Choyce in 1950. Even in the early years of his business career he was marked as a leader; with an impressive frame, warm smile, excellent oratory, listening, analytical and organisational skills. As Assistant Managing Director of the company he saw the business flourish with branches opening in Remuera, Lynn Mall, Panmure, Palmerston North and Takapuna.
He was passionate about New Zealand and in particular New Zealanders seeing their own country. As early as 1958 he became involved with travel, helping form The Auckland Facilitation Committee which organised better facilities to greet visitors to Auckland. A year later he became the inaugural Chairman of the New Zealand Travel and Holiday Association in Auckland.
Although still primarily involved with department store retailing at this stage he entered an intense period of community service which included becoming President of the Retailer’s Federation, the Auckland Rotary Club, the National Travel Association, the Crippled Children’s Society and the Auckland Grammar School Headmaster’s Council.
But things were changing fast and he was also observing and participating in the nation’s burgeoning commercial tourism industry. Starting in 1965, when the government first allowed licensed duty free retailing, he formed Duty Free Stores (Wellington) – which continued to serve international travellers there for 25 years. The following years also saw the formation and establishment of souvenir manufacturing, wholesaling and retail companies (thirteen of them across the country still remain today) and even a ‘Tourist Destination’ in Rotorua called The Little Village that combined arts and crafts, retailing and entertainment – a concept well ahead of its’ time. In 1973 he resigned from Milne & Choyce to devote his full time and passion to the tourism industry.
In 1976 he was appointed by government to the Tourist Development Council and in 1983 he began a six-year chairmanship of the newly formed New Zealand Tourism Council. In 1986 he was awarded an OBE for his services to Tourism and the community.
A doyen of the travel Industry, Duncan Hamilton was heard to say, “As a merchandise retailer involved with Duty Free, John Milne brought a wealth of experience from retailing into the tourism industry. He got people to do things (often when they didn’t want to) with gentlemanly persuasion”.
Although he passed away in 1999 he is fondly remembered as someone who could bring the best out of people; across all levels of participation he encouraged the development of a culture based on relationship, loyalty, integrity and jolly good fun.
2011 Retail Hall of Fame Recipients
Sir David Levene
Sir David first worked in the family paint business in 1947, spent a few years elsewhere, then returned to take over management of the firm in 1952 upon his uncle’s death. David was 23 years-old and Levene’s was a single outlet business.
During the next 40 years the company made several retailing advances as it became a household name. When Levene & Company was sold to Skellerup Group in 1994, it had 50 stores, paint and wallpaper factories and a total turnover of $150 million.
In the retail context Levenes were innovators. In the 60s and 70s they lead the way as a discounter in the paint and wallpaper markets. In fact their Easter promotion in 1964 was reported to have achieved paint sale of 1,300 gallons – great volume for a single store. The brand came into even greater prominence in the late 80s early 90s when the Levene Extreme concept was introduced into New Zealand. This was a ground breaking development in the home decorating market with range and merchandising techniques that the market had never seen before.
Along with his continued business interests, Sir David is involved in a wide range of community projects including Patron of Parkinson’s New Zealand and is a supporter of many organisations including the Halberg Trust, the Rotary Club of Auckland and the North Shore Hospice.
In 2010 he received the Insignia of a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business and the community.
Timothy Charles Glasson
Think of Christchurch retailing giants and Tim Glasson's name is to the fore. His Glassons womenswear fashion stores that began in Christchurch in the early 1900s have clothed New Zealanders for more than 100 years. In 1985 Glassons was merged with Hallensteins to form the publically listed company, Hallensteins Glassons Holdings.
Currently they operate the 47-store Hallensteins menswear chain in New Zealand and the Glassons womenswear chain in both Australia (24 stores) and New Zealand (35 stores). The company has also opened three stores under the Storm womenswear brand. They have become the major player in the specialty clothing sector.
Tim Glasson was the driving force behind the merged Hallensteins Glassons company and it was his retailing skills that shaped the very successful business we see today.
Although Tim no longer drives the day-to-day running of the business, he is still the cornerstone shareholder in the company and sits on the Board of Directors. He also has substantial property holdings throughout New Zealand and currently sits on a number of other Boards.