In a sad day for Australian fashion, iconic Australian fashion retailer Lisa Ho is closing up shop and 100 people are out of work, with a buyer unable to be secured despite a high level of interest.
Administrators Barry Taylor and Todd Gammel from HLB Mann Judd said in a statement yesterday afternoon the remaining Lisa Ho stores would be closed, as sale discussions fell apart over the weekend.
“Despite considerable interest, a sale of the Lisa Ho Group business as a going concern has not been achieved with the sale program.
“The administrators are now focused on an orderly closure of the remaining Lisa Ho Group stores,” the statement says.
Although a sale is yet to be achieved, Taylor told SmartCompany discussions are continuing to try and salvage part of the brand.
“There are still parties who are interested in the intellectual property of the brand and they have their own models and processes as to how they would merchandise the brand.
“We haven’t been able to find a purchaser of the business in terms of the head office, design function and the retail outlets and this is just symptomatic of the market,” he says.
The interested parties were unable to be disclosed because of signed confidentiality agreements between them and the administrators, but rumours have been flying Myer and the Apparel Group had expressed interest.
Taylor previously told SmartCompany seven potential buyers had signed confidentiality agreements.
Taylor says the collapse of Lisa Ho can be attributed to tough trading conditions affecting all Australian retailers.
“Australian consumers are wary and are focused on repairing their household balance sheets. It’s a matter of confidence and it just isn’t there,” he says.
Taylor says Lisa Ho has a debt of around $11 million, but 5000 Lisa Ho stock items still remain and an immediate sale is now underway lasting till Sunday June 30.
The sale will be across all of Lisa Ho’s remaining stores, including the online store. The brand can be located in Sydney’s Strand Arcade and Elizabeth Street David Jones store, David Jones located in Melbourne’s Bourke Street Mall, Chadstone Shopping Centre and Wintergarden in Brisbane.
As well as the store closures, around 100 jobs will be lost.
SmartCompany contacted Lisa Ho but she declined to comment.
Administrator Gammel told AAP yesterday it was upsetting for the designer.
“It was a very emotional day yesterday, and I think it’s been a very draining process on Lisa personally.
“But she understands how it all works and she’s moving forward as best she can,” Gammel is quoted as saying.
Lisa Ho joins a long list of Australian retailers which have been placed in administration in recent years. Brands such as Ksubi, Sass and Bide, Fletcher Jones, Charlie Brown and Bettina Liano have all previously been on the brink of collapse, but have survived, with many returning to prosperity.