There are growing fears Homeart could be liquidated, with the iconic homewares chain offering discounts of up to 80% on merchandise and claims the company’s administrators are struggling to find a buyer.
Daniel Austin Walley, Phil Carter and Mark Robinson of PPB Advisory were appointed administrators of Homeart on January 23, with an aim of finding a new buyer for the iconic chain.
Homeart had 116 stores and 600 employees at the time it went into administration, with 13 of its worst-performing stores already closed.
A source close to Homeart, who asked not to be named, told SmartCompany many of the company’s staff now fear that no buyer has been secured for the chain, formerly known as Copperart, with a possible liquidation coming as soon as the end of this month.
The source says employees are keeping their heads down and are avoiding making waves, but are resigned to the fact they will most likely end up being made redundant.
“They just haven’t been able to find a way to offload the company – there just are no takers – and the administrators just aren’t capable of turning the business around,” the source said.
According to the source, a key factor in the company’s decline has been problems in terms of merchandising and suppliers.
“There was no flexibility and no adaptability in the buying. Especially with electrical goods, they were buying inferior products that just weren’t up to scratch,” the source said.
“The standard had dropped significantly and that led to excessive returns – these were genuinely faulty products.”
Homeart is currently running a “Stocktake Sale” with discounts of up to 80% on the ticketed price of products as the administrators attempt to clear stock.
Another well-placed source at the company suggests that even if a last-minute buyer is found, it is likely at least some additional stores will be closed over the coming six to eight weeks.
The iconic homewares chain was launched as Copperart by Amy Van Roest and her husband Aart in 1978 and its first store was located on Canterbury Road in the eastern Melbourne suburb of Blackburn.
Between 1999 and 2001, the company rebranded as Homeart to indicate it had shifted from selling copper and brass ornaments to a full range of cookware, manchester, electrical goods, toys and fitness products.
Before its collapse, Homeart had total revenues of $61,430,000 according to IBISWorld, with Van Roest continuing to serve as its managing director, and its headquarters having moved to New South Wales.
SmartCompany contacted PPB Advisory but did not receive a response prior to publication.
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