Yet another Australian retail chain is on the brink of being confined to the history books, with news that menswear retailer Ed Harry has gone into voluntary administration.
In a statement released late on Tuesday (15 January), KPMG announced that it had been appointed as voluntary administrators over Specialty Mens Apparel Pty Ltd, which trades as Ed Harry.
The firm’s Brendan Richards and Gayle Dickerson will manage the administration process.
Adelaide-headquartered Ed Harry began trading in 1993, and was later relaunched in 2011, growing to a network of 87 stores nationally and employing 498 people.
“Ed Harry is a long-established, iconic Australian menswear business,” Mr Richards said.
“Like many other Australian retailers, after a strong period of growth, it has faced a challenging environment over the past 12 months — and a particularly tough Christmas sales period. It has also become clear that shopping centre footfall has been significantly weaker than expected.”
In KPMG’s statement, the retailer’s managing director, David Clark, said that retail competition — not just in bricks and mortar but also online — has been “fierce”.
“While this was to be expected, the directors had been exploring options for funding to enable Ed Harry to continue to compete and grow, however to this point have been unsuccessful,” he said.
“Today is a difficult day for all our hard-working employees and loyal customers.”
For the time being, stores will continue trading as normal, while the administrators explore options to save the business from collapse, including potential for a sale.
Ed Harry has already embarked on a major clearance sale in a bid to clear stock. It’s website states that shoppers will receive “25 per cent to 70 per cent off absolutely everything”. Meanwhile, gift cards will only be honoured for one month, on a dollar-for-dollar basis.
The first creditors meeting has been scheduled for 24 January 2019 and will be held in Adelaide.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.