ONE in every four stores at fashion chain Colette by Colette Hayman are to be shut down as administrators try to find a buyer for the ailing retailer.
In a statement late this morning, administrators from Deloitte Restructuring Services announced that 33 loss-making stores would close across Australia and New Zealand.
The stores to close include eight in Victoria, mostly in Melbourne (see the full list below).
Queensland is the state hardest hit, with 10 stores to be shuttered, while six will go in New South Wales.
The stores will close over the next three weeks.
Deloitte said 105 stores would remain open for now, in the portfolio that will be offered for sale.
Customers and staff were supporting the brand, the administrators said, “demonstrating the value of the business”.
The announcement today comes after the Colette parent company, CBCH, fell into voluntary administration on January 31.
Deloitte partner Vaughan Strawbridge said administrators took into consideration “a number of factors” before deciding to close stores, but regrettably had to act.
“This is never easy,” Mr Strawbridge said.
“We are working closely with the Colette management team to effect the closures quickly while seeking to redeploy staff impacted.
“Closing the 33 loss-making stores will position us with improved group performance and time to find a recapitalisation or sale of business solution for the business.”
Staff across the retail chain were told about the store closures yesterday, Deloitte said.
Mr Strawbridge said “all efforts” were being made to redeploy staff affected by store closures. “All staff impacted are expected to receive all their wages and entitlements in full,” he said.
Deloitte has called for prospective buyers of the chain to lodge initial expressions of interest, which are due early next week.
There had already been “strong interest”, it said.
A string of major retail chains have fallen into administration or announced extensive restructuring in recent months, Harris Scarfe, Jeanswest, EB Games and Bardot.
Melbourne-based home furnishing specialist Ishka joined the list this week, appointing Cor Cordis as administrator.
THE COLETTE STORES CLOSING
Spencer Outlet Centre (CBD)
NEW SOUTH WALES
Australia Fair (Gold Coast)
Queen St (Brisbane CBD)
Rundle Mall (CBD)