Yet another major fashion firm is on the brink of ruin, this time leaving 225 retail stores and 1300 jobs in the lurch across Australia.
Yet another major fashion firm is on the brink of ruin, this time leaving 225 retail stores and 1300 jobs in the lurch across Australia.

Surprise collapse of Aussie fashion giant

Fashion heavyweight PAS Group has entered voluntary administration, leaving some of Australia's best-known labels facing an uncertain future.

The popular retailer is behind 225 shops across Australia and New Zealand, owns major brands including Review, Black Pepper, Yarra Trail, Designworks and JETS Swimwear and also supplies stock to Myer and other stores.

Around 1300 staff are employed by the company.

PwC partners Stephen Longley, David McEvoy, and Martin Ford have been appointed as voluntary administrators.

They will now launch a preliminary review and assessment of the group, including how operations have been affected by factors such as the coronavirus crisis and subsequent lockdown.

PAS Group, which owns brands such as JETS Swimwear, has gone into administration. Picture: Instagram/@jetsswimwear
PAS Group, which owns brands such as JETS Swimwear, has gone into administration. Picture: Instagram/@jetsswimwear

PAS Group Chief Executive Eric Morris said today's decision was difficult but had been made with the long-term interests of the Group, shareholders and employees in mind and followed an announcement in April that the company was looking into restructuring options.

"The Australian retail sector was already facing significant challenges prior to the COVID-19 pandemic," Mr Morris said.

"While the Board is of the view that the company is solvent, given the issues as a result of unfavourable financial market conditions for retailers, the COVID-19 crisis, and the challenges of restructuring in that environment, it felt that administration was the best way to affect change while protecting all stakeholders.

"Against the backdrop of many retailers closing their doors, we have taken proactive action to put PAS Group in the best possible position to navigate through the pandemic and subsequent economic challenges."

Mr Morris said that the Group will be transparent and open with employees throughout the process.

"We know this is a challenging time for our employees and their wellbeing will continue to be at the front of our minds throughout the voluntary administration process," he said.

"The objective of the board and management is for the Group to emerge from this process in a strong and sustainable position that will carry us into the future. We look forward to working with the Administrators to achieve this objective."

Mr Longley said that the administrators would be "seeking to assess the best options for the business with a view to restructuring it for a more sustainable future" in the weeks to come.

PAS Group stores will continue to trade as normal, in line with current local restrictions across Australia and New Zealand, and all store credits and vouchers will be honoured.

RETAIL WOES

The announcement comes hot on the heels of a slew of other high-profile Australian businesses that have folded in 2020.

It started early on January 7 when it was revealed department store Harris Scarfe was set to shut 21 stores across five states over the course of just one month after the retailer was placed into receivership in December.

Just days later, McWilliam's Wines - the country's sixth-largest wine company that has been run by the same family for more than 140 years - announced it had also appointed voluntary administrators.

Then it was popular video game chain EB Games' turn, with the business confirming it was closing at least 19 stores across the country within weeks, while fashion chain Bardot is also planning to shutter 58 stores across the nation by March.

In January it also emerged Curious Planet - the educational retailer previously known as Australian Geographic, which is owned by parent company Co-op Bookshop - would pull 63 stores across Australia after failing to find a buyer for the brand, while denim chain Jeanswest entered voluntary administration that month and tech giant Bose also revealed it would close all Australian stores and 119 across the globe largely as a result of the rise of online shopping.

This year German supermarket Kaufland also pulled out of Australia before it had even begun, investing millions into the expansion before making a hasty exit this year to focus on its European offerings.

Handbags and accessories chain Colette by Colette Hayman was also placed into voluntary administration in late January, leaving 300 jobs and 140 stores in the lurch, while furniture, homewares and handicrafts store Ishka also collapsed in February.

And just weeks ago it was revealed denim icon G-Star had entered administration, with Ernst & Young's Justin Walsh, Stewart McCallum and Sam Freeman appointed administrators.

This year's dismal first fortnight for retail follows a horror 2019 that brought the collapse of a slew of Aussie businesses, with some international players also folding in recent months.

Last January, menswear retailer Ed Harry went into voluntary administration, and a week later, Aussie sportswear favourite Skins also revealed it was on the brink of failure after applying for bankruptcy in a Swiss court.

At the end of the month, the Napoleon Perdis beauty empire appointed administrators although it was saved from liquidation by KUBA Investments three months later.

Footwear trailblazer Shoes of Prey also met its demise in March last year along with British fashion giant Karen Millen, which in September revealed it would soon shut all Aussie stores, leaving around 80 jobs in peril.

In October, celebrity chef Shannon Bennett's Melbourne burger chain Benny Burger was also placed into administration, followed by seven Red Rooster outlets in Queensland just days later and then Aussie activewear sensation Stylerunner, which has since been sold to Accent Group Limited.

In November, it was revealed that popular furniture and homewares company Zanui was in trouble after it abruptly entered voluntary administration, leaving angry customers in the lurch.

Later that month, Muscle Coach, a leading fitness company, was put into voluntary administration after a director received a devastating diagnosis and the company racked up debts of almost $1 million.

Then it was the famous Criniti's restaurant chain's turn to enter into voluntary administration, with several of the 13 sites across the country set to close for good. It was closely followed by discount legend Dimmeys.

Leading Australian fashion designer Alex Perry closed his only bricks and mortar store in Sydney's Strand Arcade in February, announcing he will focus solely on online.

In April, Italian restaurant chain Criniti's closed its doors for good, after rescue sales stalled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

 

 

 

Originally published as Surprise collapse of Aussie fashion giant


Man airlifted to hospital after North Coast beach incident

Premium Content Man airlifted to hospital after North Coast beach incident

A 38-YEAR-old man has been airlifted to a Brisbane hospital

MISSING MAN: Can you help find Michael?

MISSING MAN: Can you help find Michael?

Michael Laracy, aged 56, was last seen leaving his home at Ballina

STORM WARNING: Destructive winds, giant hailstones and rain

STORM WARNING: Destructive winds, giant hailstones and rain

A thunderstorm warning has been issued for the Northern Rivers