Outdoor and work supplies retailer Aussie Disposals has collapsed into voluntary administration after suffering a one-two punch from the bushfire crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The family-owned business is expected to close 11 of its 36 stores in a restructure aimed at slimming down operations to a profitable position, says administrator Peter Goodin of Magnetic Insolvency.
An unspecified number of the 120 staff employed by the business will be terminated, but 14 franchised stores trading under the brand and their staff will be unaffected.
Founded in 1962, Aussie Disposals sells everything from tents to military fatigues and is owned by Mark Purvis, who bought the business from his father Peter Purvis in 1992.
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The business had been planning a restructure for several years, but was pushed over the edge after the bushfire crisis devastated its regional store network, and the coronavirus outbreak saw trading deteriorate further.
“It was a perfect storm, there’s no fighting that,” Goodin says.
ANZ Bank, the company’s largest creditor, has been briefed on the administration and is said to be supportive of restructure arrangements that would see Purvis maintain control of the company.
Retail businesses across Australia are dealing with an unprecedented deterioration in trading conditions as federal and state officials lock down large swathes of the economy and restrict movement of residents.
Many large retail chains have already temporarily shut up shop following an already difficult period for the sector, which has seen other well known brands like Harris Scarfe, Bardot, Jeanswest and Ishka also fall into administration.
More to come.