Finance

Administrators close 20 Man to Man stores while search for a buyer continues

Eloise Keating /

Twenty Man to Man retail stores across the country will close as administrators Ferrier Hodgson continue to search for a buyer for the collapsed retail chain.

The 34-year-old menswear chain collapsed into voluntary administration in late 2014, with James Stewart and Brendan Richards of Ferrier Hodgson appointed as administrators on December 17. The 82 Man to Man stores continued to trade through the Christmas and New Year period.

The administrators said today 10 Man to Man outlets in Victoria will close, resulting in the loss of 46 jobs. The stores to close are located in Dandenong, Wantirna South, Greensborough, Docklands, Mill Park and Narre Warren in Melbourne, and Ballarat, Geelong, Gippsland and Mildura in regional Victoria.

Three stores in New South Wales will close, with 15 employees to lose their jobs. The stores are located in Hurstville, Fairfield and Wagga Wagga.

The Man to Man store in the Canberra suburb of Phillip will also close, affecting one employee, as will the store in Cairns, which employs six people.

Two South Australian stores in the Adelaide suburbs of West Beach and Noarlunga Centre will close, affecting 14 employees. Three Western Australian stores in Perth, Ellenbrook and Willetton will close, affecting 12 employees.

Ferrier Hodgson said in a statement all affected employees will be offered redeployment opportunities in similar roles and locations wherever possible.

A clearance sale is underway at the 20 stores slated for closure, while excess stock has also been discounted at the remaining 62 stores in the network.

The administrators labelled the stores as “underperforming” and said the closures were necessary “to enhance profitability and prepare the chain for a successful sale”.

“Our task as voluntary administrators is to make the business as profitable and attractive as possible so that new owners can see the value of investing in the future growth and stability of Man to Man,” said administrator Brendan Richards.

“With this restructure, we are confident that our ongoing discussions with interested parties will result in a positive and speedy outcome for the business and its dedicated staff.”

Man to Man was founded in 1981. The business turned over $39 million in the last financial year but creditors are owed a total of $28 million, which includes $7 million owed to trade creditors and landlords, $13 million owed to related parties and $8 million owed to other creditors.

Administrator James Stewart said in December the chain collapsed was caused by a “failed investment decision in a men’s shoe retail chain and tough retail trading conditions during 2014”.

Expressions of interest in the business are due by this Friday, January 9.

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Eloise Keating

Eloise Keating is the editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Eloise was news editor at Books+Publishing, the trade press for the Australian book industry.

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