Kikki.K has entered voluntary administration following a two-year struggle and a recently poor summer, which exacerbated its mounting problems.
The stationery chain was established in Melbourne in 2001 by Kristina Karlsson and Paul Lacy, and now runs 65 stores across Australia, the UK, New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong.
In a statement issued on Tuesday evening, Ms Karlsson said that “it is with profound regret and sadness that we take this action”.
“This business began with a young girl’s dream 20 years ago and became an international success story with customers in over 150 countries.”
Mr Lacy also shared his grief in the same statement, revealing that the company has had a tough two-year period and was “caught in a perfect storm” between Brexit and protests in Hong Kong.
“And, finally we’ve had the triple whammy of soft consumer demand, the business impact of bushfires and more recently the unprecedented and profound impact of the coronavirus which is hitting so many businesses and countries so hard,” Mr Lacy said.
He also revealed that kikki.K was in talks with an international buyer but had run out of time, adding that they “had no choice but to place the company into external administration”.
Together, the founders expressed hope that the business will soon find a new owner, stressing that until then it will be “business as usual” under the receivership of Barry Wright and Bruno Secatore of Cor Cordis.
“Kikki.K has unfortunately joined what has become a long list of financially distressed retailers, given softening consumer spending, high leasing costs, compounded by a disappointing December/January trading period,” Mr Wright said.
“We’re now urgently working with management in respect of a plan to restructure the business and enhance value, while also investigating a sale of the kikki.K.”
Kikki.K is only the latest retailer to collapse as a result of Australia’s unforgiving retail environment. It follows Collette by Collette Hayman, Ishka, Jeanswest, Harris Scarfe, Bardot and Curious Planet.