WILLS The Quadrant will cease trading at its Launceston's Kingsway store at the end of August and exit the audio-visual retail market.
Company executive director Kevin Leslie said yesterday that Tasmania's weak economic and retail climate, recent trading history and future outlook prompted the board to decide to solely become a ``specialist telecommunications provider''.
The company's three Launceston Telstra outlets in the Quadrant Mall, Kings Meadows and Mowbray will remain open.
Mr Leslie said sales and administration staff would be affected by the decision to close the store on the corner of York Street and the Kingsway when the lease runs out on August 31.
``The Wills board has agreed that it is no longer viable to continue trading in audio-visual,'' Mr Leslie said.
``The audio-visual industry has been caught in a perfect storm, with structural changes in shopping habits, deflation of prices with the high Australian dollar and a competitive market reduction in already tight margins.
``Wills is financially sound and has invested considerable capital to secure this exciting future.''
rgeMr Leslie said the company had been transparent with staff since the decision was made a month ago and where possible they would be redeployed in the company.
Wills The Quadrant began trading in Launceston in 1908 and has been an iconic Northern Tasmanian business ever since.
In 2010, Wills closed its music store in Brisbane Street.
``Sadly it is the end of a very long era, however, the Wills board sees the company as being in a transitional phase, transforming itself from a traditional retailer to a specialist telecommunications provider,'' he said.
``When the opportunity presents itself, we will certainly invest in the telecommunications side of our business.
``That's why it's such an exciting future and we have confidence going down that path.''