The Farmers Trading Company
(branded as Farmers
) is a New Zealand
mid-market department store
chain. Based in Flat Bush
in Auckland,"." Farmers
. Retrieved on 28 January 2009. Farmers operates 56 stores across New Zealand, specialising in fashion, beauty, home-wares and furniture.
The company was founded by Robert Laidlaw
in 1909 as 'Laidlaw Leeds' and sold agricultural related goods through mail order catalogues, following a successful American model. In 1918 Laidlaw Leeds merged with The Farmers Union Trading Company, when then was renamed as The Farmers Trading Company. The company expanded into retail and adopted the department store
model. For many years the multi-story Farmers Building in downtown Auckland was the largest store in the country, and had free buses that took shoppers to the store from other parts of the city. After closing in the early 1990s, the large downtown store is now an upscale hotel. Currently, most Farmers stores are attached to shopping malls, with their larger stores in the suburbs.
The company grew from one store during the 1910s to 56 by 1990 through opportunism and take-overs. Farmers and the DEKA
discount merchandise chain were joined as Farmers Deka Ltd from 1992. The DEKA chain closed in July 2001 after financial difficulty in competing with The Warehouse
discount department stores. Farmers Deka Ltd was then renamed Farmers Holdings Ltd.
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