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Marcs, David Lawrence fashion chains appoint voluntary administrators.

By ABC business reporters Thuy Ong and Rebecca Hyam.

Popular Australian fashion retailers Marcs and David Lawrence have appointed voluntary administrators as both chain stores suffer from deteriorating sales and poor cash flow.

The companies’ sole director is Malcolm Webster, of Webster Holdings, and the announcement affects 52 stores across both brands, 11 outlets and 140 concessions in department stores.

“We need to test the market in respect to the appetite for purchase of the labels,” Geoff Reidy, a director at Rodgers Reidy, the administrators, told ABC News.

“Early feedback is there are potential purchasers out there, so we’ll look at that and potential restructures of the businesses so that it makes it more attractive.”

Marcs and David Lawrence employ around 1,130 staff across Australia, with 640 engaged on a casual basis, 260 full-time and 230 part-time workers. There are 10 stores in New Zealand, which employ 42 staff.

Employee wages have been paid up until January 30, while superannuation has been paid up to December 31, 2016.

The administrators said they would honour gift vouchers and stores would be trading as usual.

Webster Holdings was founded in 1992, and purchased David Lawrence from South Africa’s Truworths in January 2000. It acquired Marcs from Oroton Group in December 2006.

The news punctuates a particularly painful 12 months for retailers, including the wind-up of Dick Smith, Woolworths’ home improvement business Masters, Payless Shoes and kids clothing retailer Pumpkin Patch going into receivership in October.

This post originally appeared on ABC News.


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