Australia markets closed

A look back at the Aussie retailers which have collapsed or gone into administration over the past few years

Sharon Masige
  • Jeanswest is the latest in a line of Australian retailers that have gone into administration.
  • The list also includes Bardot, Topshop, and Ed Harry.
  • Andrew Spring, partner at insolvency services company Jirsch Sutherland told Business Insider the holiday season and the rise of e-commerce are among the factors which lead retailers into this position.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

Several Aussie retailers have collapsed over the past several years.

Jeanswest, which went into administration earlier this week, is the latest in a growing line. The company, which has around 146 stores in Australia, appointed KPMG administrators on Wednesday.

“Like many other retailers, the business has been challenged by current tough market conditions and pressure from online competition,” KPMG head of retail restructuring James Stewart said in a statement. “The Administration provides an opportunity for Jeanswest to restructure so as to better respond to the challenging Australian retail market.”

Andrew Spring, partner at insolvency services company Jirsch Sutherland, told Business Insider Australia retail is a challenging environment at the best of times.

"Often we find that it's quite seasonal. Generally speaking at the start of each year we'll see some major retail collapses, and it's often off the back of just poor trading through that holiday period.

"If the business has been in sustained distress for a period and is hoping that holiday period is likely to be their saviour, sometimes if things don't go quite according to plan, then it can be the catalyst for an appointment," he said, adding that it is relatively common.

But there's of course, another major factor that plays into the mix – the rise of e-commerce.

"I think over the last few years, we've seen that the retail environment is changing quite dramatically with the rise of this e-commerce environment," Spring said. "And therefore the breaking down of the boundaries between what may have been your traditional competitors in a high street model to now being competitors from all over the country or all over the world."

While it's only been just over two weeks in 2020, Spring believed the retail sector might have some challenges up ahead.

"It's going to continue to be tricky for retailers," Spring said, adding that retailers going into administration "is not something new". "Retail is a high turnover type industry where a lot of people find it difficult to be able to sustain that customer interest and build that product that's going to last."

Here's a look back at some of the other Australian retailers which have collapsed, gone into administration or shut some of their stores over the past few years.

Kikki K

The stationery retailer Kikki K went into administration in March. Co-founder and CEO Paul Lacy said several efforts had been made to save the business, including a possible partnership with a “big global business” which later fell through.

Colette by Colette Hayman

The handbags and accessories store went into voluntary administration in February, with 33 stores across Australia and New Zealand to close.

EB Games

The gaming retailer will be closing 19 "unprofitable stores" in January 2020.

Bardot

The women's fashion brand entered voluntary administration in November 2019 amid the “highly cluttered and increasingly discount-driven” retail market.

Harris Scarfe

Harris Scarfe, which has 66 stores in Australia, entered receivership in December 2019.

Napoleon Perdis

The cosmetics company entered voluntary administration in January 2019.

Dimmeys

In November 2019 the retail store announced it is shutting its doors after 166 years. It comes after Dimmeys went into administration in 2014.

Ed Harry

Menswear brand Ed Harry went into voluntary administration in January 2019 after facing "a challenging environment".

Topshop

The fashion company collapsed in 2017 under the weight of its debt.

Gap

OrotonGroup, which owns the Gap franchise in Australia, discontinued the business by the end of January 2018.

Esprit

The fashion store left Australia and New Zealand in 2018, closing all of its 67 stores.

Toys 'R' Us

Image: Jessica Tyler / Business Insider
Toys 'R' Us in Australia went into voluntary administration in 2018 after its stores in the US and UK also planned to sell or close their stores.

Roger David

Fashion retailer Roger David, which had 57 stores in Australia, appointed administrators in 2018. “Roger David, like many other fashion retailers, has been buffeted by global competition, stagnant sales and rising fixed costs,” Craig Shepard of administrator, KordaMentha Restructuring, said in a statement at the time.

Shoes of Prey

Shoes of Prey went into liquidation in 2019, ten years after the company launched in 2009.

Co-op bookshop

The company entered voluntary administration in November 2019, owing more than $15 million to publishers and toy sellers.