National swimwear retailer Seafolly has collapsed into voluntary administration amid the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Australia’s beleaguered retail sector.
Scott Langdon and Rahul Goyal of KordaMentha Restructuring were appointed as voluntary administrators of the business on Monday and will now attempt to sell the company after an assessment of its affairs is completed.
The business, which has 44 stores in Australia and 12 across the United States, Singapore and New Zealand, will continue to trade for the time being and gift cards will be honoured.
The administration also covers Seafolly’s sister business Sunburn Swimwear, but it remains unclear whether the businesses will be offered to suitors together or separately.
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“Given the quality of the brand and its reputation, there will inevitably be a high level of interest in purchasing the business,” Langdon said in a statement.
A spokesperson for the administrators has confirmed the company has about 120 workers on its books, but did not clarify whether the business has been accessing JobKeeper payments.
It’s not just #Covid_19 and deteriorating consumer confidence that is impacting on the viability of iconic retailers like #Seafolly, it is the growth of discount department stores, fast fashion retailers, and consumers who don’t want to pay for quality. @9NewsAUS @TheTodayShow pic.twitter.com/SOVDQbfw13
— Professor Gary Mortimer 🛒🛒🛒 (@ProfRetail) June 29, 2020
Founded in 1975 by local retail veteran Peter Halas, Seafolly is one of Australia’s longest-standing, home-grown retail brands.
L Catterton Asia, the private equity arm of luxury retail giant LVMH, bought a controlling stake in Seafolly back in 2014.
It’s been tough going for discretionary retailers in recent months amid an unprecedented dive in clothing and apparel spending due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Clothing, footwear and personal accessories retail plummeted 64% year-on-year in April, bouncing slightly in May but still falling by about 20%, according to the ABS.
Other brands including Tigerlily, PAS Group and G-Star Raw have collapsed into administration in the wake of the pandemic.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated the Halas family maintained a presence on Seafolly’s board. The family left the board in 2018.