Grab Jeans collapses after six years of trading

Australian denim brand Grab Jeans has collapsed after just six years of trading, as online retail continues to take a sledgehammer to the local fashion industry.


Based in Melbourne, Grab Jeans is co-owned by Grant Moffitt and Amanda Gilham. The business started trading in 2005 and quickly built up a strong following among younger female consumers.


However, it’s believed the company has pared back its retail stores to just one amid the increasingly popularity of online shopping. Grab Jeans also sold selections of stock in department store David Jones.


Jim Downey, of insolvency and reconstruction service specialists J P Downey & Co, told SmartCompany he expects to sign off a new owner shortly, most likely from the fashion industry.


He says the company collapse is symptomatic of the current retail environment, particularly in fashion, due to the huge rise in online retail.


In addition to the company directors taking a hit, Downey said a debenture holder is owed a substantial amount and the Australian Taxation Office has been a “major catalyst” in the collapse.


“The GFC times were extraordinary and people shouldn’t think that the Tax Office will be as flexible as they were during those times. They’re back to their attitude that they’re to collect their revenue,” he said.


The report comes on the back of an announcement that Myer model Jennifer Hawkins will be a special guest at Vogue’s Online Shopping Night, in an overt attempt to entice customers online.


The event is a one-night-only online shopping event hosted by fashion publication Vogue Australia.


Also taking part in the event is private shopping club brandsExclusive. Managing directors Daniel Jarosch and Rolf Weber also own shopping sites Spreets and Styletread.


At the other end of the retail spectrum, it’s been reported that discount retailer Retail Adventures – owned by millionaire businesswoman Jan Cameron – is up for sale.


Retail Adventures, which operates Chickenfeed, Go-Lo, Sam’s Warehouse and Crazy Clark’s discount stores, is thought to have attracted interest from a handful of potential suitors amid slowing sales caused by the retail downturn.


According to the Australian Financial Review, Retail Adventures has been approached by potential buyers, just three years after it was purchased from private equity for $70 million.


The rapidly expanding Chickenfeed business appears to be the main draw card for buyers; it has grown from 29 stores across Tasmania in late 2009 to more than 60 stores across Tasmania and the eastern states.


A university dropout, Cameron is best known as the founder of outdoor clothing and equipment retail chain Kathmandu, which she sold in 2006 for around $300 million.


Kathmandu was listed on the share market in late 2009, but its shares are currently trading below its listing price of $1.70 due to tough trading conditions.


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