Administrators HLB Mann Judd were appointed to iconic Australian fashion brand Lisa Ho last week.
Lisa Ho recorded $13.05 million in revenue in 2012 but made a loss of $2.3 million, which the business attributed to “one-off issues”.
This led to the appointment of administrators Todd Gammel and Barry Taylor to Lisa Ho Designs and Lisa Ho Retail.
The administration comes after Lisa Ho abandoned its plans for an initial public offering earlier this month.
The IPO planned to offer 7.5 million shares priced at $0.20 per share to raise a minimum of $1.5 million.
Brian Walker, chief executive of the Retail Doctor Group, told SmartCompany a public float is often seen by retailers as an excellent way to “almost cheat the grave”.
“It’s quite often one of the last calls to prop up an organisation that is clearly struggling,” he says.
But Walker says administration may not mean the end of Lisa Ho as a business.
“In the rag trade when these things happen, there are many cases when the business trades on, it is actually the tax office, creditors and suppliers that take the hit,” he says.
“I’m not suggesting that’s possible with Lisa Ho, but I’m not ruling it out either. It might not be the end of Lisa Ho; it might just be the rebirth of something similar.”
Walker points to the return of fashion retailers Charlie Brown, Bettina Liano, Tsubi, and sass and bide before Myer bought it.
“They all went into administration, restructured and then went again,” he says.
“Even Lisa Ho’s husband, Philip Smouha, went through administration in 2010. He owed around $26 million to St George Bank and he now trades as Tex ‘N’ Jean.”
Walker says Lisa Ho’s operating loss of $2.3 million looks to be a result of strategic supply chain issues.
“It shows you really need to buy well, be on trend and not overinvest in working capital,” he says.
SmartCompany contacted Gammel at HLB Mann Judd and Lisa Ho, but both declined to comment.