Mrs Fields Australian franchises unaffected by the collapse of US chain

Mrs Fields Famous Brands in the United States is about to file for bankruptcy as part of its financial restructuring.

Mrs Fields Famous Brands in the United States is about to file for bankruptcy as part of its financial restructuring.

But Andrew Benefield, MD of Australian franchisee Mrs Fields Australia (Cookies Australia Pty Ltd) says the local operation will continue trading with no impact to the Australian franchise, its stores or employees.

“Our board of directors, in conjunction with the committee representing about 78% of our bond holders, has decided to complete (a financial) restructuring through a pre-packaged bankruptcy,” Mrs Fields US president John Lauck said in a memorandum.

Cookies Australia, which operates a local franchise network under license from Mrs Fields Famous Brands America, is an independent entity and will not be affected by the packaged bankruptcy, which will see the US company undergo financial restructuring while being able to continue to trade.

“All of our Mrs Fields stores in Australia are independent businesses with no plans for any closures whatsoever. To the contrary, we are expanding the network to 50 stores and kiosks and have opened two new stores and five new Cookie Counters in the past 12 months,” said Benefield in a statement.

“We anticipate minimal impact from events in the US with no direct financial or operational impact, as the supply chain is independently owned and operated. In contrast to an Australian bankruptcy, in the US a pre-packaged bankruptcy will take between 30 to 90 days and does not require for assets to be frozen and can be used to restructure a company financially.”

Benefield said he understood the US bankruptcy was part of a major financial and ownership restructure, with no impact on daily operations in the US. “The restructure and packaged bankruptcy should lead to a stronger entity in the US, which will benefit the global Mrs Fields network.”

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