Grocery delivery service Aussie Farmers Direct will close immediately after falling into voluntary administration today, with administrators saying more than 100 franchisees and 260 staff will be affected by the collapse.
The company launched in 2005 as a home delivery service for dairy and juice products across Victoria, before expanding to Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and South Australia with a full grocery offering.
Craig Shepard and Leanne Chesser of KordaMentha Restructuring were appointed to the business on Monday. They said in a statement that the closure is expected to affect 100,000 customers.
Attempts had been made to recapitalise the business or find a buyer, but these had proven unsuccessful, said Shepard.
“Unfortunately, it is not possible to continue trading and the business will stop operating immediately,” he said in a statement this morning.
However, the company’s Home Delivery Services (HDS) business, which provides last-mile delivery services, will continue to trade as normal throughout the administration.
According to Fairfax, the majority of Aussie Farmers Direct’s more than 100 franchisees will cease trading today, however, a small number may be offered work with HDS.
The company had previously said it was focused on becoming the “third pillar” of Australia’s online grocery space, launching online sales platform The General Store in 2016.
Administrators said this morning Aussie Farmers Direct had faced a tough retail environment and had been under significant pressure from the big supermarkets.
Shepard said in a statement that most of the company’s debt was held with “entities associated with local and overseas investors”, and that there was no significant bank debt.
A meeting of creditors is to be held next week.