Our Dick Smith battles on

WARWICK'S Dick Smith outlet will remain right where it is on Palmerin St, despite the likely closure of nearly half of the electronics giant's 386 stores nationwide.

Dick Smith owner Woolworths is understood to be mindful of the trend towards online shopping, and falling profits from the Dick Smith chain are also on the corporate radar screen.

The Daily News contacted Dick Smith's corporate headquarters in Sydney yesterday, where a spokesman said "categorically" there were no plans to leave Warwick.

Woolworths announced a strategic review of Dick Smith late last year and it is believed as many as 189 stores across the country could shut their doors.

While Dick Smith is staying put, the news is not so good for the Food For Less outlet in the Harvey Norman Centre, which will close on Monday, February 6.

A Woolworths spokesman yesterday confirmed the closure, saying the 20 staff had been "re-deployed", with 18 moving up the street to the Woolies supermarket in Rose City Shoppingworld and the other two promoted to management roles at Pittsworth and Stanthorpe.

"Food for Less will be closing as it is not a viable business, and we provide a much better offer to customers in Warwick through the full-range Woolworths supermarket," the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, for sale signs can be expected to pop up at the Palace Hotel at the corner of Percy and Palmerin Sts in the next few weeks.

The hotel has been in the hands of receivers Bentleys accountants since owners Graham and Lynn Hyde shut the doors just before Christmas and left town.

A Bentleys spokesman said in the first week of January that the pub and its Westside bottle shop would re-open with a manager, possibly by the end of the month, but yesterday confirmed that plans had changed and the Palace would now be placed on the market.

"We'll be securing a marketing agent within the next week or so and we expect a sale within two months," he said.

The Hydes bought the Palace for $2.1 million in May 2007.


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