Woolworths, an Australian multi-format retailer, has agreed to acquire New Zealand-based direct retailer of apparel and homewares EziBuy Holdings in a deal worth NZ$350m ($276.9m).

Through this acquisition, Woolworths plans to enhance its multi-channel business, leveraging EziBuy’s online platform, catalogues and contact centres.

Woolworths chief executive officer Grant O’Brien said that one of the four strategic priorities the company outlined in 2011 was to maintain its track record of building new growth businesses, and specifically to grow multi-option presence.

"This acquisition will provide us with a unique competitive advantage as we continue to develop our multi-option capabilities. We believe the combination of our retail network, EziBuy’s direct selling expertise and our respective loyal customer bases is a winning formula for us," O’Brien added.

"Direct-to-customer retailing is a critical part of the multi-option market and it is clear that these channels will continue to provide Woolworths with opportunities for growth and innovation."

EziBuy, founded with a single store in 1978, currently has a customer contact centre, a distribution centre that specializes in direct-to-consumer logistics and four retail stores in New Zealand.

Australia contributes nearly 68% of the company’s total sales and EziBuy retails its own brands, including Capture, Urban, Emerge, Grace Hill and Sara.

EziBuy chief executive Simon West stated they are delighted to have the backing of Woolworths as the company embarks on the next phase of growth.

"Further investment in mobile platforms, customer insights and distribution will be priorities for us now as we move forward," West added.

The acquisition agreement is currently awaiting approval of New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office (OIO).