Celebrating Maclean toasts Noel Leeming sale

Maclean Technology partners and customers turned out on Friday night to mark ‘a major milestone’ in the company’s history, with a launch event following the company’s sale to Noel Leeming Group.

Former Maclean Technology CEO Chris Maclean and father, Allan Maclean, founder of predecessor Maclean Computing, were joined by Maclean staff and management from Noel Leeming Group and parent company The Warehouse Group for a relaxed and often light-hearted evening.

Tim Edwards, Noel Leeming Group CEO, told the assembled guests that the company had realised trying to sell boxes was an ‘ever increasing dark alley’.

“We are a retailer first and foremost, but we have a very large commercial business.”

Edwards acknowledged that the timing of the negotiations with Maclean – taking place so soon after Noel Leeming Group had itself been acquired by The Warehouse Group – was ‘terrible’, but says ‘the backbone of the business was fine, it had just lost its way a little and needed some tender loving care and a little direction, but the people were amazing’.

Added Mark Powell, The Warehouse Group CEO: “Today is really about welcoming the Maclean’s team into the family, and also in some ways assuring the customers that we are committed to the business. We bought it for a reason and that reason is linked very closely to the strategy of The Warehouse Group.”

He said over the past two years The Warehouse – or TW – has been changing significantly.

“What we’ve been trying to reinfuse a lot of that innovation and energy that Stephen [Tindall] started the business with. It got lost a little bit in the 2000s.

“As part of that we’ve made 10 acquisitions over the past year, including Noel Leeming. And Noel Leeming was part of us recognising that you can’t be defined just by your product. What are we about as The Warehouse Group?

“We’re about New Zealand first and foremost. We’re about customers. Yes we’re retailers but it’s also about services around that product. And Noel Leeming [and Maclean Technology] become a really good fit for us.”

Powell noted that the services component ‘is really important, particularly on the technology side’.

“We have always had a lot of business customers. Fifty percent of Warehouse Stationery sales are to business customers. So there’s a lot of synergy there.

“The strategic fit [with Maclean Technology] was very clear, and also it was an opportunity we felt would add value to our business and we could add value and support towards them growing and serving customers even better.”

Meanwhile, Chris Maclean took the time to thank customers who stuck by the company after Maclean Computing went into liquidation last year, acknowledging the ‘nice fright’ the liquidation gave customers.

“Those of you who stayed with us and stayed loyal, I’m hugely grateful. You gave us the time to get ourselves together and get back out on the field,” he said.

“I’ve got some new colleagues now. I think there are about 15,000 of them!”

Maclean also reminisced about how his father started the business in 1993 as a sideline to his real business in lady’s nightware.

“Some days I wish you handed that down, instead we’re stuck with servers and storage.”

While he noted in jest an early concern that ‘I would have to wear a red shirt’, Maclean said the Noel Leeming and Warehouse teams were ‘much more than just retailers, they are very, very good businessmen’, providing him confidence in the future of the company.

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