Finance

The timeline of Dick Smith: From humble beginnings to $520 million float and voluntary administration

Eloise Keating /

Dick Smith employees around the country will this morning be discounting the stock in the stores they work in, following a decision by the company’s receivers to cease trading 301 retail outlets over the next eight weeks.

Ferrier Hodgson said yesterday no buyer could be found for the electronics retain chain that carries the name of one of Australia’s most well known entrepreneurs.

As a result, 301 Australian stores employing approximately 2460 staff will close. Another 62 Dick Smith stores in New Zealand employing around 430 people will also cease trading in the next few weeks.

It’s a far cry from the early 1980s when Dick Smith sold the chain he founded with just $610 to Woolworths for approximately $25 million.

In a monetary sense, it feels even further away from when private equity group Anchorage Capital floated the company in 2013 , with a reported market capitalisation at the time of $520 million.

Here’s a timeline of key events in the 48-year history of the Dick Smith business.

  • 1968 – Entrepreneur Dick Smith opens a car radio installation business in a small, rented space beneath a carpark in Atarmon, Sydney, with just $610.
  • 1970s-1980s – The Dick Smith business expands product range and grows to a network of 20 stores.
  • 1980 – Woolworths acquires 60% of the  Dick Smith business
  • 1982 – Dick Smith sells remaining shareholding to Woolworths, which paid a total of $25 million
  • 2012 – Woolworths announces restructure than involves closing up to 100 stores and selling the business. Private equity group Anchorage Capital for $115 million, $20 million of which was paid upfront.
  • November 2012 – Nick Abboud appointed as chief executive
  • December 2013 – Anchorage Capital floats Dick Smith on the Australian Securities Exchange with a reported market capitalisation of $520 million.
  • November 2015 – Dick Smith writes down 20% or $60 million of inventories
  • December 2015 – Dick Smith launches “mammoth” clearance sale
  • January 4, 2016 – Dick Smith collapses into voluntary administration, with receivers appointed on the same day
  • January 11, 2016 – Nick Abboud stands down as chief executive
  • January 22, 2016 – Receivers close 27 Dick Smith concessions located in David Jones department stores
  • February 25, 2016 – Dick Smith receivers Ferrier Hodgson annouce the closure of remaining Dick Smith stores over a period of eight weeks.

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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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