The company behind department store Harris Scarfe has been placed into receivership, on the same day that voluntary administrators were appointed.
Deloitte Restructuring Services partners Vaughan Strawbridge, Kathryn Evans and Tim Norman revealed in a statement that on Wednesday (11 December) they have been appointed receivers and managers over Harris Scarfe and its managing company DS OpCo Pty Ltd.
The retailer, which claims to be “one of Australia’s longest trading retailers, with over 160 years of experience”, operates nationally with a chain of 66 stores, but Mr Strawbridge noted that its biggest presence is in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.
According to Deloitte, it employs more than 1,800 people and has annual sales turnover of $380 million.
“Harris Scarfe is a longstanding retail institution. We will be making every effort to secure a future for the business and intend to commence an immediate sale of business process,” he said.
Mr Strawbridge said that all stores will continue to trade as normal over the Christmas season, and employees will be paid by the receivers, adding that he believes that Harris Scarfe’s assets are “more than sufficient” to meet all employee entitlements.
He said that Deloitte will pursue a sale of the business, while aiming to “preserve the employment of as many people as possible”.
Harris Scarfe primarily sells a range of clothing, linen, homewares, electrical goods and luggage.
On the same day that the receivership was announced, the Harris Scarfe website was advertising a one-day sale.
The website states that Harris Scarfe was established in 1849 as Lanyon & Harris, with its first store opened on Adelaide’s Hindley Street in 1850. It took on the name Geo. P. Harris Scarfe & Co. seven years later following the addition of two major partners, before being rebranded to its current name in 1920.
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