Economy

Lorna Jane reveals why it cancelled sale plans; 19% of SMEs are not making the most of their employees; Shares down: Midday Roundup

Eloise Keating /

The owners of active wear retailer Lorna Jane have opened up about why they have decided not to sell multi-million dollar business.

In a statement issued to SmartCompany, Lorna Jane chief executive and co-founder Bill Clarkson said he and his wife Lorna Jane were not ready to let go.

“Lorna and I were offered a lot of money to hand control to someone else, but we realised our vision of creating a global brand would never happen unless we were both in the driver’s seat, so the decision was simple after that,” Clarkson said.

“I’m very pleased to say that Champ Ventures has agreed to remain in the business and we will retain controlling interest to ensure Lorna Jane becomes the next truly great global Australian lifestyle brand.”

The comments follow speculation in May that the retailer was looking for a buyer, after choosing not to pursue an initial public offering.

Lorna Jane said it received interest from over 40 parties during the six months it was considering selling.

19% of SMEs are not making the most of their employees: Survey

Close to one in five Australian SMEs believe there is potential to get more out of their employees, according to research published today by Westpac.

Just over 70% of the SMEs surveyed by Westpac said they recognise the way they manage their staff affects the performance of their business, but more than half said they do not currently use external resources to help them manage their teams and almost all respondents said they do not have internal resources dedicated to managing staff.

“Whilst small businesses make up 96% of enterprises in Australia and employ over half of our nation’s workforce, our research shows that 95% of Westpac small business customers do not have dedicated internal resources to manage the complexities associated with managing staff engagement, performance, hiring and retention, which could affect the business bottom line,” said Julie Rynski, general manager of small business for Westpac.

Shares down on open

Aussie shares have made some gains in morning trading but remain lower than yesterday’s close.

Rivkin global investment manager Tim Radford said negative leads from overseas markets will continue to put pressure on local investors today, but the longer outcome could be more positive.

“If strong buying support re-emerges again today, that would signal that downside momentum in Australian equities is weakening and an interim bottom is forming,” said Radford.

“Positively for the ASX200 is that it’s becoming oversold quickly, driven lower by a weakening Australian dollar, falling iron ore prices, and a sell-off among high yielding equities. Unless selling pressure in the US does accelerate, and we see a sizeable +10% correction in the coming weeks, the Australian market is looking increasingly attractive for longer-term investors around current trends.”

The S&P/ASX 200 benchmark was down 45.7 points to 5238.5 points at 12.06pm AEST. On Tuesday, the Dow Jones closed 272.52 points lower, down 1.6% to 16719.4 points.

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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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