Hundreds of jobs lost as Harris Scarfe prepares to shut 21 stores

Harris Scarfe

Collapsed department store Harris Scarfe will shutter 21 stores across the country over the next four weeks as recievers try to steady the ship for a possible sale.

Deloitte Restructuring Services partner Vaughan Strawbridge informed 440 workers their positions with the business, which fell into recievership last December, will be affected by the closures yesterday.

“This has been a difficult decision, but one necessary to position the Harris Scarfe business for a successful sale and continued operation,” Strawbridge said in a statement on Monday.

“All efforts are being made to redeploy affected staff around the rest of the store network, and all staff that leave the business will receive all wages and entitlements in full on the closure of individual stores.”

The administrators confirmed 44 of Harris Scarfe’s stores will continue to trade, with 1,380 of the more than 1,800 staff that worked at the company prior to its collapse remaining.

“Our review of the store network included a range of factors, including past and likely future profitability,” Strawbridge said.

“Going forward, we certainly remain focused on running the broader store network, and selling the business as the best outcome for remaining employees and suppliers.”

The stores that will close over the next four weeks include two stores in Western Australia, six in Queensland, eight in New South Wales, three in Victoria and one in both South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory.

Plans to close stores were developed over the last month after recievers and administrators from BDO had a chance to run the ruler over the business, which had been in the hands of Australian-based private equity firm Allegro Funds since November.

Allegro has still not responded to comment requests regarding the circumstances that led the business to receivership.

Gift cards and lay-buy deposits continue to be honoured in full.

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