Payless Shoes to close in Australia, 730 staff to lose jobs

By business reporter Thuy Ong

Payless Shoes, one of Australia’s largest independent shoe retailers, will close 132 stores across the country and let go of 730 staff, the company’s administrator Ferrier Hodgson said.

Ferrier Hodgson said all Payless Shoes stores will be transferred or closed in February 2017.

Administrators James Stewart, Jim Sarantinos and Peter Gothard were appointed to manage the company in November – the second time in four years that the business had been placed into administration.

“While we received a number of expressions of interest from various parties, there were no acceptable offers for the business as a whole,” said Mr Sarantinos in a statement today.

“We would particularly like to thank the Payless Shoes employees for their support during the administration process.”

When the company was placed into voluntary administration last month Ferrier Hodgson said Payless Shoes had 870 employees and annual sales of approximately $75 million.

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“While the closure process is progressed, the administrators will continue to work with interested parties and landlords to transfer stores and employee contracts where possible,” the statement read.

Mr Sarantinos acknowledged it is a “disappointing outcome” for employees who had given loyal service over many years.

Payless Shoes Australia opened its first store in Sydney in 1980. It was acquired in March 2013 by Payless ShoeSource based in Kansas in the US, saving it from administration at the time

Pain for retailers

Payless Shoes’ announcement comes days after Howards Storage World – which operates 29 stores through its own network and franchisees – said voluntary administrators had been appointed to its business, which is continuing on a “business as usual basis”.

Its administrators are Deloitte Restructuring Services partners Vaughan Strawbridge and David Lombe who stated that selling the business in a timely manner would be the best opportunity to “preserve the business and allow it to continue in the future”.

“It’s very early days as far as our appointment is concerned and we have commenced an urgent assessment of the group’s financial position,” Mr Strawbridge said.

Payless Shoes’ closure marks a particularly painful year for retailers, after the winding up of Dick Smithhome improvement business Masters,Pumpkin Patch went into receivership in October

This post originally appeared on ABC News.


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