Finance

Nearly 50 jobs lost as Homeart administrators close 13 stores

Andrew Sadauskas /

The administrators of collapsed homewares retailer Homeart are in the process of closing 13 stores, including six in the retailer’s home state of New South Wales, with nearly 50 staff set to lose their jobs as a result.

Daniel Austin Walley, Phillip Carter and Mark Robinson of PPB Advisory were appointed administrators of Homeart after the iconic retailer was placed into voluntary administration on January 22.

At the time of the appointment, the Homeart chain had 116 stores nationwide, with around 600 employees, but no longer had any franchises.

Immediately after being appointed, PPB Advisory began an urgent review of the business, including analysing potential restructuring initiatives or sale options. The full reasons for the administration are still being determined and will be outlined at the second creditors’ meeting.

According to the administrators, while most of the chain’s stores are performing well, the decision was made to close a number of its underperforming stores.

As a result, 13 stores are closing nationwide, including six in NSW, four in Victoria, two in South Australia and one in Western Australia.

A total of 46 employees have been made redundant, including 18 causal employees, 22 who work part-time and six who work full-time. PPB Advisory says it is working closely with the affected staff and their representatives regarding entitlements, and will assist them in identifying potential re-employment opportunities.

Read more: The 15 biggest collapses of 2014

In a statement, Daniel Walley of PPB Advisory told SmartCompany the underperforming retail outlets were closed in order to reshape Homeart and strengthen its remaining business.

“While this is a very regrettable development, our priority at this time is to reshape Homeart into a sustainable retail business, which ultimately may help to protect the interests of the remaining employees. The closure of these underperforming stores is a necessary step to achieving this,” Walley says.

“The remaining 100 stores will continue to operate on a business as usual basis whilst a review of the business continues. PPB Advisory is engaging with a number of potential purchasers to ensure we achieve the best possible outcome for the business.”

“We are grateful for the support from the general public who remain very supportive of Homeart.”

In a further blow, customers attempting to make purchases through the company’s official website over the past week were greeted by an error message.

“There was a problem with the response received. Please check your options,” was the slightly ironic error message displayed on the collapsed retailer’s website.

However, it appears the website error has been fixed.

The iconic homewares chain was launched as Copperart by Amy Van Roest and her husband Aart in 1978 and its first store was located on Canterbury Road in the eastern Melbourne suburb of Blackburn.

Between 1999 and 2001, the company rebranded as Homeart to indicate it has shifted from selling copper and brass ornaments to a full range of cookware, manchester, electrical goods, toys and fitness products.

Before its collapse, Homeart had total revenues of $61,430,000 according to IbisWorld, with Van Roest continuing to serve as its managing director, and its headquarters having moved to New South Wales.

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Andrew Sadauskas

Andrew Sadauskas is a former journalist at SmartCompany and a former editor of TechCompany.

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