Retail

Organic supermarket About Life collapses after numerous legal disputes

Matthew Elmas /

Organic food retailer About Life has fallen into voluntary administration after a series of legal disputes with suppliers over the last 18 months.

The independent grocer is understood to have closed all of its eight stores recently and on Wednesday morning had shut down various social media accounts and sections of its website.

It is now under the control of administrators from Farnsworth Shepard, who were not available for comment on Wednesday morning.

About Life is backed by Melbourne-based investment firm Green Capital Partners, the same company that backed food retailer THR1VE before it fell into administration and was bought by SumoSalad earlier this month.

It is just the latest in a long line of retail businesses to go under in 2018, capping off a tumultuous year for a sector grappling with high rents, changing consumer habits and tough competition.

Only two years ago, the 22-year-old business was expanding, replacing Thomas Dux stores in Sydney and Melbourne, but things appear to have gone awry with over $200,000 in legal claims levied against the business by suppliers and others since June 2017.

Data from credit reporting agency Creditor Watch shows the company has 19 outstanding payments to suppliers and others totalling over $250,000, dated between August and December.

Stores in Surry Hills, Rozelle, Crows Nest, Bondi Junction and Cammeray in Sydney, as well as a location in Port Melbourne, are advertised as closed.

About Life sells a range of organic groceries as well as health and beauty products and environmentally friendly household cleaning products.

It also maintained a catering arm that provided for cocktail functions, afternoon teas, conferences and other events.

Back in 2017, About Life was sued by supermarket giant Woolworths over a lease in Double Bay it had offered to Harris Farm, allegedly in breach of a first right of refusal agreement. Woolworths won the case.

About Life and Michael Green, managing director at Green Capital, declined to comment on Wednesday morning.

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Matthew Elmas

Matthew is the news editor at SmartCompany. You can contact him at [email protected].

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