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Second-wave retail apocalypse claims Bardot, EB Games, McWilliams Wine as victims

A number of beloved Australian retailers and brands are going under. (Source: Westfield, McWilliams, Getty)
A number of beloved Australian retailers and brands are going under. (Source: Westfield, McWilliams, Getty)

Last year, Australia saw dozens of brands and labels collapse as the retail sector struggled to compete with rising costs and popularity of online shopping – and 2020 is shaping up to be more of the same.

This week alone, Australian fashion brand Bardot has announced it will shut 58 stores across the nation, EB Games Australia has said it will close stores before the month is over, and popular Australian wine group and long-time family business McWilliams Wine has folded.

Bardot confirms 58 store closures

Bardot first announced it was entering into voluntary administration in late November last year, with the CEO citing “a highly cluttered, and increasingly discount-driven market”.

In a statement this morning, KPMG administrators said closing the 58 Bardot stores was a “very difficult decision to make”. Meanwhile, 14 stores – all of which are in Victoria and NSW – will remain open.

“Our analysis has determined it is a necessary step in rebuilding the financial performance of the business and maximising the prospects of a successful sale or restructure,” said KPMG Australia Restructuring Services Partner Brendan Richards.

“Subject to ongoing trading performance and discussions with landlords, it is not our intention to close further stores at this point in time.”

The store closures will be complete by 1 March, and discounts will be placed on clothing in order to clear stock.

The store closures will mean 530 jobs lost, the ABC reported.

EB Games Australia shuts doors

A picture of an EB Games shop in Melbourne Australia.
EB Games shop in Melbourne Australia in February 2016. (Source: Getty)

Yahoo Finance has confirmed that EB Games will be closing 19 stores by the end of January.

“Like all businesses, we are constantly evaluating our property portfolio to ensure that our stores mix is in-line with the ever changing retail landscape,” a spokesperson said.

The closure of “19 unprofitable stores” will mean job losses, and the spokesperson said staff were offered opportunities to work in surrounding stores where possible.

But the games retailer said it will be opening “more large format stores” that combine elements of EB Games and Zing Pop Culture.

According to Kotaku, these are the stores that have been removed from EB Games’ store locator webpage:

  • Birkenhead Point EB Games NSW 2047

  • Blacktown EB Games NSW 2148

  • Bribie Island EB Games QLD 4507

  • Brickworks Marketplace EB Games SA 5031

  • City Cross EB Games SA 5000

  • Cleveland EB Games QLD 4163

  • Dandenong EB Games VIC 3175

  • Dianella EB Games WA 6059

  • Hallet Cove EB Games SA 5158

  • Hamilton EB Games VIC 3300

  • Harbourtown Adelaide EB Games SA 5950

  • Inala EB Games QLD 4077

  • Inverell EB Games NSW 236

  • Kalamunda EB Games WA 6076

  • Lutwyche EB Games QLD 4030

  • Majura Park EB Games ACT 2609

  • Rockdale EB Games NSW 2216

  • Tamworth EB Games NSW 2340

  • Underwood EB Games QLD 4119

  • Winston Hills EB Games NSW 2153

McWilliams Wines goes under

McWilliams Wines Group, Australia’s sixth-largest winery, yesterday entered into voluntary administration, appointing KPMG as administrator.

The wine group has been in the hands of the founding family for 141 years and owns the McWilliams and Mount Pleasant brands.

It is also the sole Australian distributor for brands such as Champagne Taittinger, Mateus, Henkell and Mionetto.

(Source: McWilliams)
(Source: McWilliams)

According to chairman Jim Brayne, the drop in sales came down to a number of factors including “structural market dynamics” and “capital constraints”.

In a statement released on Wednesday, KPMG Australia restructuring services partner Gayle Dickerson said the $87 million wine empire was in the “initial phase” of the process and an assessment of the business and its operations would be undertaken.

“The company will continue to operate as normal and we are working with the McWilliams’ family with the support of its employees while we work hard to try to preserve one of Australia’s oldest winemakers,” said Dickerson, who added that the group is now seeking buyers or expressions of interest to “recapitalise”.

Customers, growers, suppliers and key stakeholders of the wine group will be directly contacted, and a creditors meeting will be held on Monday 20 January.

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