New kid on the chocolate block: Haigh’s opens new store as Darrell Lea closes 32

In a move that comes after Darrell Lea being placed into voluntary administration and closing 32 shops, Haigh’s Chocolate is opening a second Sydney store in the Queen Victoria building.

The company’s first Sydney store opened seven years ago in the Strand Arcade and say the latest opening comes in response to strong consumer demand.

“An opportunity arose in the iconic QVB building and the company believed that this site and the Haigh’s brand were an ideal fit,” great-grandson of the founder Albert Haigh, and current joint managing director, Alistair Haigh told Fairfax Media.

“We are now awaiting approval from council.”

Darrell Lea was placed into administration in July after 85 years of business in Australia. The company blamed the expansion of chocolatiers and chocolate cafes like Haigh’s, Max Brenner, Gânache Chocolate, and Theobroma.

Darrell Lea’s administrators, PPB Advisory, have announced that they will close 32 of their shops, making 198 casual, part-time and full-time staff redundant. The closures include the Darrell Lea QVB store.

Darrell Lea stores to be closed

  • ACT: Belconnen Mall, Tuggeranong Hyperdome and Woden Plaza
  • NSW: Blacktown Westpoint, Bondi Westfield, Broadway, Burwood Westfield, Carlingford, Gorokan Lake Haven, Liverpool Westfield, Merrylands, Miranada Fair, Parammatta Westfield, QVB Sydney, Roselands Centro, Rouse Hill and St Ives Shopping Town.
  • VIC: Doncaster Shopping Town, Highpoint West Shopping Centre, Swanston Street, Northland Shopping Centre and Southland Shopping Centre.
  • QLD: Broadbeach Pacific Fair, Southport Australia Fair, Upper Mt Gravitt, Robina Town Centre and Toombul Westfield.
  • SA: Westfield Tea Tree Plaza.
  • WA: Hilarys Whitford City, Morley Galleria, Cannington Westfield, Joondalup

It leaves 34 Darrell Lea stores set to remain open, some of these as franchises.

PRB Advisory’s Mark Robinson says closing underperforming stores will make it easier to sell the business.

“While this is a very unfortunate development, our objective at this time is to make Darrell Lea more attractive to potential purchasers, and help protect the interests of the remaining 480 employees,” he says.

He says even prior to being placed in administration, the company was already considering closing stores.

The new Haigh’s store will be in the premises currently occupied by Adidas which is due to move out. The space fills the ground floor at the southern entrance to the building.

Haigh’s was founded in Adelaide by Alfred E. Haigh in 1915. They claim to be the oldest family-owned chocolate manufacturing retailer in Australia. It currently has six Adelaide stores, six Melbourne stores and one in Sydney They have more than 300 employees across their 13 stores.

It’s flagship Melbourne store is located in the historic Block Arcade in Collins Street.

The flagship Adelaide store opened in 1915 in the historic Beehive Corner building on the corner of Rundle Mall and King William Street.

Darrell Lea was founded in 1927 and up until now employed about 700 staff through its manufacturing and retail divisions.

This article first appeared on Property Observer.


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