Gourmet food retailer Jones the Grocer has collapsed into voluntary administration for the second time.
PPB Advisory were this afternoon appointed as administrators to JTGS, which is the Australian operator of the four remaining Jones the Grocer and Becasse stores in Australia. The sole shareholder of JTGS is L Capital Asia, the private equity arm of fashion powerhouse and luxury goods retailer Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy.
It follows the appointment of administrators to Jones the Grocer, Becasse and sister company Charlie & Co in December 2014.
However, the latest appointment does not involve the Charlie & Co burger chain, which SmartCompany understands in in the process of being sold by L Capital Asia.
The administration also does not include related entity Senselle Food Distribution, which was also sold by L Capital Asia during the past 12 months, or the global operations of Jones the Grocer, including stores in New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
The four Jones the Grocer and Becasse stores in Australia will cease trading today and L Capital Asia said in a statement this afternoon there are no plans to re-open the outlets under the Jones the Grocer banner. The Australian operations currently employ 70 people, including casuals.
More than 200 people worked for the Jones the Grocer group when it first entered voluntary administration at the end of 2014 and L Capital Asia said today a large number of those workers will continue to work for Charlie & Co and Senselle under new owners.
L Capital Asia took full management control over the restructured Jones the Grocer business when it previously emerged out of voluntary administration in mid-2015.
The company said today it will propose a Deed of Company Arrangement (DOCA) be executed again. Under the proposal, L Capital Asia will “forgo” its entitlements as a creditor to the business, which it says includes “several millions of dollars in loans” that were provided to the business in 2015.
“Despite the efforts and energy of new management and significant additional investment to revive the Jones the Grocer brand locally, legacy issues unfortunately continued to impact the performance of the business in Australia,” said Shantanu Mukerji, L Capital Asia managing director of Australia and Non-Asia.
“While we are confident the four Australian sites will attract interest from international franchises looking to establish a foothold in Australia, it is clear the future of the Jones the Grocer brand now lies in overseas expansion.”
The Jones the Grocer brand was founded by Lindsay Jones in 1996, with the food emporium opening its flagship store in Woollahra, Sydney.
The company was acquired by Melbourne businessman John Manos in 2005 and L Capital Asia took a 50% stake in the business in mid-2012.