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Peeptoe Shoes collapses, as retailers continue to face financial pressures

Yolanda Redrup /

Popular women’s shoes and accessories retailer Peeptoe Shoes has been placed in administration, as high overheads and increased competition led to financial pressures.

The business, first started in 2007 by Nikki Hager, was placed in administration on Monday, with Janna Robertson and Rahul Goyal appointed as administrators from KordaMentha.

Goyal told SmartCompany a number of Peeptoe’s stores have now been closed.

“We’ve closed a couple of loss-making stores including Little Collins St in Melbourne, Castle Towers in Sydney’s Castle Hill, and in Queensland we’ve closed the Queen’s Plaza store in Brisbane,” he says.

“Staff wise, there were nine stores across the eastern seaboard, each store had two to three staff and then the head office had eight because it included the warehouse.”

Currently, all of Peeptoe’s Westfield stores have remained open, as has its pop-up shop in Surfers Paradise.

In 2011 Hager had been nominated for Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year awards and she remains the sole director of the business.

Goyal says the business started to come under pressure when “Peeptoe” was no longer a unique name.

“There are a number of new entrants in the market. Peeptoe is a type of shoe and most manufacturers make them. At first it was an original name, if you typed peeptoe into Google it just went to Nikki, but now lots of businesses appear,” he says.

“There are also a number of businesses doing custom shoes like Shoes of Prey. The overheads for the business were also quite high. It had too many stores and they were not making the money Nikki was expecting.”

Goyal says because of the large overheads, Hager was unable to keep buying the necessary stock.

The business’s main financier was the ANZ bank and other creditors include staff and overseas suppliers.

“The employees are owed quite a lot for entitlements, around $150,000 to $200,000. ANZ is owed circa $900,000,” he says.

Goyal says it was also possible that landlords would be owed damages.

“At this stage we’re hoping for a deed of company arrangement but Nikki is still working out what kind of business she has left when we’ve down-scaled it,” he says.

“As ANZ is the financier, we need a proposal which will satisfy it.”

Goyal says the business may still be able to be salvaged.

“Potentially yes, but on a much smaller scale, we’re talking about two to three stores and a website and then Nikki will try to revamp herself,” he says.

“We’re in quite productive discussions with Westfield because they don’t want to lose another tenant. Nikki has been good to them in return and has been open with them.”

The creditors meeting will take place on January 16 in Sydney. There will also be a warehouse sale to run down stock.

“It is a good brand, every girl seems to know it and I think some of the sales coming up will be a good chance to grab a bargain,” Goyal says.

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