Childrenswear retailer Pumpkin Patch will close its doors for the final time within weeks, after a three-month long fire sale comes to an end.
Pumpkin Patch collapsed into receivership in October 2016 after the company was unable to find a “solution” to its multimillion-dollar debts. Receivers KordaMentha began discounting stock and winding down the business in November following an unsuccessful sale campaign for the company and its assets.
At the time, the receivers said Pumpkin Patch’s stores in Australia and New Zealand would likely trade until February. In an update released on Friday, KordaMentha confirmed that 68 Pumpkin Patch and Charlie & Me stores will close by January 31, resulting in the loss of up to 560 jobs.
Another two earthquake-damaged stores in New Zealand that are already closed will not re-open, while the remaining 56 stores in Australia and New Zealand will close by mid-February once inventories have been sold through.
The receivers have not indicated which stores will be the first the close.
“We have successfully traded stores through the traditional holiday period and stock levels are now considerably reduced,” said receiver Neale Jackson in a statement.
“The balance of stock will be consolidated in the remaining stores as the receivership enters its final phase.”
KordaMentha said all employees have been advised about the closure dates, including head office staff.
“This has been a very difficult time for all Pumpkin Patch staff. We acknowledge and thank them for continuing to work dilligently to see the closure process through,” Jackson said.
At the time of its collapse, Pumpkin Patch operated 117 stores in Australia and 43 in New Zealand, employing a combined workforce of approximately 1600 employees. In November, 27 Pumpkin Patch and Charlie & Me outlets in Australia were earmarked for closure.
Retail experts have previously told SmartCompany that Pumpkin Patch’s market position was affected by local and international competitors alike.
“Pumpkin Patch has always been regarded as great for fashionable childrenswear, but over the years it began to see the impact of retailers like Kmart and Zara Kids,” said Gary Mortimer, a retail expert at Queensland’s University of Technology Business School.
“These places began doing fashionable childrenswear at much lower prices, and once a retailer becomes the same as all the others, all shoppers look at is price, and it loses its point of differentiation.”