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Iconic Aussie retailer to close forever

Godfreys will be wound down after administrators failed to find a suitable purchaser for the iconic business.
Godfreys will be wound down after administrators failed to find a suitable purchaser for the iconic business.

Iconic Australian vacuuming company Godfreys will be closed for good, after no viable offers to buy the struggling business were made.

The retailer, established in 1931 in Australia, appointed voluntary administrators earlier this year citing cost of living pressures and inflation.

Its closure means 141 stores will be shuttered and leave 600 employees without a job.

It is understood there are 375 employees remaining in the Australian arm of the business after 25 head office staff were made redundant as of Wednesday.

The administrators announced no viable offers had been submitted to take the business forward after they conducted a “comprehensive” process to identify a purchaser.

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“With interested parties withdrawing and no satisfactory bids to acquire Godfreys store network yet received, the administrators have no other option but to commence a progressive wind-down of Godfreys’ operations in Australia and New Zealand,” they said in a statement.

Craig Crosbie, Robert Ditrich and Daniel Walley from PwC Australia were appointed as administrators on January 30 this year.

Godfreys will close for good in Australia and New Zealand after administrators announced no suitable offers were made to purchase the business. Picture: Supplied
Godfreys will close for good in Australia and New Zealand after administrators announced no suitable offers were made to purchase the business. Picture: Supplied
John Hardy, Godfreys' CEO for more than two decades, during one of the zany commercials. Picture: Supplied
John Hardy, Godfreys' CEO for more than two decades, during one of the zany commercials the company was well-known for. Picture: Supplied

Mr Crosbie said 55 expressions of interest and six indicative offers were received during the sales process.

However these offers have since been withdrawn or were determined not to be sufficient in securing the business’s long-term future.

“This is not the outcome Godfreys had hoped for following a rigorous process to find a purchaser for the business that could keep the store network trading,” Mr Crosbie said in a statement.

“In the absence of any further bidders coming forward as intermittent trading continues, the process of closing all remaining stores will progress over the next eight weeks.

“We recognise this is a difficult time for staff, franchisees and other stakeholders and we will continue to work closely with all parties to ensure they are informed and supported over the coming weeks.”

The administrators said 25 head office staff have been made redundant as of Wednesday. Picture: Supplied
The administrators said 25 head office staff have been made redundant as of Wednesday. Picture: Supplied

A phased closure of stores will take place between now and May 31, 2024.

“Godfreys stores will continue to trade on an interim basis to provide a reasonable period for the clearance of existing stock, after which stores will be notified that closures will take effect,” the administrators said.

Franchisees have been informed Godfreys can no longer support them from today.

The administrators said franchised stores can trade until March 31 to realise the value of existing stock or alternatively return stock sold to them during the administration to receive a credit on amounts owed to Godfreys.

In a release from January announcing the company’s collapse into voluntary administration, Mr Crosbie said administrators would continue to trade during an immediate operational restructure.

Godfreys will be gradually wound down after the announcement. Picture: Supplied
Godfreys’ TV ads were known for their bizarre clips. Picture: Supplied
Godfreys will be gradually wound down after the announcement. Picture: Supplied
One purported to show a vacuum which could suck up a bowling ball. Picture: Supplied

They announced 54 stores would close within weeks and 193 staff would lose their jobs - 171 in Australia and 22 in New Zealand.

Godfreys’ director Grant Hancock said: “While the decision to appoint Administrators was difficult, it was made with the best interests of Godfreys’ employees, customers and broader stakeholders in mind.”

Godfreys is best known for selling vacuum cleaners and other cleaning products, gaining notoriety for its unique television commercials.

The loud advertisements often showed the strength and resilience of the company’s vacuum, with one being so strong it could suck up a bowling ball.

Another clip showed a vacuum being smashed with a sledgehammer.

“If you miss this you’ll kick yourself it’s gonna (sic) be huge,” one of the ads said.