Dozens of women have been left in the lurch after a bridal boutique went into financial collapse.
Without warning, devastated brides-to-be lost their deposits and found themselves without a dress after retailer Primrose & Finch shut up shop in New Zealand and Melbourne, Fairfax Media reports.
Seventy-nine women are reportedly affected, including at least 24 in Australia, after shelling out payments for dresses selling for as much as $5500. One affected customer’s wedding is as soon as August 27.
Angela Lawson told Fairfax Media she had chosen her dress because she wanted something really special.
“It was the only place I went. I wanted something vintage and couture and very special. This was my indulgence,” she said.
Instead she’ll be wearing a “plan B” dress on her big day.
“I didn’t believe this was happening,” she said.
The liquidator’s report states the business is AU$300,000 in debt, with money owing to landlords, brides, designers and tax authorities.
Employees have also come forward claiming they been left unpaid and described seeing poorly made dresses, samples being sold as the real deal, and even second-hand dresses resold as new, the NZ Herald reports.
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Primrose & Finch has been trading in New Zealand for three years and in Melbourne’s inner-city suburb of Fitzroy since 2015.
It is reported three months’ rent remains owed on the Smith St location.
Angry customers have launched a Facebook page named Action Against Primrose & Finch for support.
According to the liquidator’s report, the bankruptcy was driven by relocation costs in anticipation of perceived growth, increased overheads and money needed to provide designer samples.
The opening of the Melbourne store has been acknowledged as a “mistake of fatal consequence given their limited economic capability”.
After filing for liquidation last week, owners Kerry and Matthew Smith are believed to have fled to the UK where the couple have a history of failed businesses, the NZ Herald reports.