Harris Scarfe goes bust

More retail carnage:

Harris Scarfe has been placed into receivership with Vaughan Strawbridge, Kathryn Evans and Tim Norman of Deloitte Restructuring Services appointed voluntary administrators on Wednesday.

Operating nationally, but best known in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, Harris Scarfe retails bed linen, kitchenware, homewares, electrical appliances, and apparel across 66 stores. The business employs over 1,800 staff, and has annual sales totalling $380 million.

Strawbridge said trading will continue as normal over the Christmas period and employees will continue to be paid by the receivers. He is confident there is more than sufficient assets to meet all employees’ entitlements. The receivers intend to achieve a sale of the business as a going concern and preserve the employment of as many people as possible.

But why would anybody buy it?

David Llewellyn-Smith
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  1. all these retailers going bust right before Christmas. Can’t wait to see what happens during Jan-Feb period when no one have money to spare.

  2. I suspect that K-mart with its aggressive pricing has eaten into much of HS’s market share.
    Is the Reject Shop next?

  3. Everyone in my circle of friends thinks we are going to have a recession, know 2 people who have been made redundant just the past 2 weeks which is just reinforcing it.

    And they are reacting with wallets shut, new year will be brutal for retailers that are left standing

      • No.They already have a couple and the rent is no longer meeting repayments.They got converted to I and P you see and anyway they didn’t really benefit from the lowering of the rates.Also they were contract workers and we’ll they spent the money owed to the tax man.Anyway they are a bit negative about things with their friends loosing jobs and look this smoke thing is getting them down

  4. “Less than a month ago, Harris Scarfe was bought by a Sydney-based private equity firm — Allegro Funds — which specialises in turning around businesses.”

    Could this possibly be a smart move – put it in receivership, wipe out a swag of debts, then someone (maybe a related company…) buys the remaining business very cheaply and then it lives on. Just wondering.

    • Did a bit of digging – they specialise in turning businesses around and have won a “Turning Businesses Around” award six times in a row – put money on them creating the award.

      They have only been around a few years, have invested heavily on the booming mining business and turning around retail chains. Reckon they are in big trouble – look like a pack of absolute cowboys.


      • Great Southern Land

        Makes you wonder how many gift cards were sold in the last 30 days.

        Trying to do a private equity turnaround/public flog off in the retail sector this climate AND post Myer and DS is not smart.

        The financial journos will be rushing to sh!t on it faster than a bunch of cruise line passengers hitting the toilets during a norovirus outbreak.

        The only thing that would mess the dunny bowls at Fairfax worse than that would be another Sydney RE agency float.

  5. Ah Jeez. The shirt I’m wearing right now was purchased from HS a couple of years ago. They always seem pretty good on the bricks and mortar side.

  6. No problem. They can just sell things made in China. You know – reduce costs. Or just replace the workers with imported scabs.

  7. Despite having been a fairly regular shopper there for manchester, socks, and other bits and pieces. I can’t say that I’m surprised.
    They seemed to have perpetual sales and were probably trying to make a profit based on the volume.