Jan Cameron calls in Aussie administrators

COLIN KRUGER
Last updated 07:21 02/11/2012
jan cameron
AUSTRALIAN VENTURE: Jan Cameron is the founder of Kathmandu and now has extensive retail interests across the Tasman.

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Administrators appointed in Australia to failed discount chain Retail Adventures say 630 jobs will go by the end of this month as they complete the closure of another 32 stores across NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.

The only solace for redundant employees is a redundancy payout by Christmas.

‘‘It is our intention to make those payments before Christmas,’’ said Vaughan Strawbridge who leads the team of administrators from Deloittes who were appointed by the company’s owner, New Zealander and Kathmandu founder, Jan Cameron.

Cameron will continue to run the viable component of Retail Adventures under licence from the administrators. She hopes to buy it back using her position as owner, and the only secured creditor with secured loans totalling A$80 million (NZ$100m).

This consists of 238 stores and 5000 employees which will operate under the Sam's Warehouse and Crazy Clark's brands. The Chickenfeed and Go-Lo brands will go - along with the 630 staff.

While some stores were unprofitable, another major issue was overhead costs designed for a much larger business. Some 400 shops were operating when the company collapsed in early 2009, but the infrastructure was built to service 1000. Retail Adventures acquired 350 of those stores.

Vaughn said that 60 stores have been closed in the 12 months leading up to his appointment and another 10 have been closed to date. The remainder to be closed by the end of the month when stock at these stores has been sold.

The 630 employees being made redundant are from these 32 stores plus others closed just prior to administration. The first creditors meeting is scheduled for next Wednesday, November 7, in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

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- Sydney Morning Herald

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