Retail

John Cootes Furniture to close after 35 years due to heightened competition and “softer market conditions”

Eloise Keating /

An Australian homewares retailer that has been operating for 35 years will close after its owners were unable to find a buyer for the chain.

John Cootes Furniture was established in 1982 by former Western Suburbs rugby league player John Cootes, and currently operates 12 stores in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

The stores are located in Merrylands, Penrith, Tuggerah, Prospect, Newcastle, Auburn, Campbelltown, Canberra, Wagga Wagga, Taree, Bathurst and Rutherford.

John Cootes Furniture is owned by Elanor Investors Group, which told the market on Monday it had been unable to sell the chain.

Elanor had been conducting a strategic review of the business, which included seeking interest from buyers. No “firm proposals” to buy the business were received.

The business will be closed progressively, with most of the stores expected to stop trading by early October. The exception will be the Merrylands store, which will close by the end of this year. The John Cootes Furniture website is currently advertising a 40% off ‘closing down’ sale.  

The closures will affect 135 employees, including 90 full-time workers and 45 part-time and casual employees. Elanor has said all employee entitlements will be paid, including redundancy payments.

Elanor chief executive Glenn Willis said in a statement the group had operated the John Cootes chain since taking ownership in 2014.

“The significant increase in the competitive environment, combined with softer retail market conditions, has resulted in our decision to close the business,” he said on Monday.

Elabor Investors Group had said in June that John Cootes Furniture’s performance had “deteriorated” and it was expected to make an after-tax loss of $2 million in six months, according to Nine

The Group said the Ashley Furniture Homestores owned by the business will continue to trade while expressions are sought to sell those stores as a going concern.

The business is the latest Australian retailer to fall on tough times this year, with the likes of Metalicus, Baby Savings, Shoe Box, Cobbler Plus and Watch Works and Toys ‘R’ Us all collapsing this year. Toys ‘R’ Us, which operated 44 stores in Australia, closed the last of its outlets in July.

NOW READ: The most visited shopping websites in Australia revealed

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Eloise Keating

Eloise Keating is the editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Eloise was news editor at Books+Publishing, the trade press for the Australian book industry.

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