Workers at Shanton Retail, a subsidiary of Shanton Apparel, say they are in shock after finding out that the company went into receivership this morning.
The company has 39 stores across the country. Director Murray Carter could not be reached for comment.
Store workers, who didn't wish to be named, said head office had told them about the receivership and asked them to stop selling gift vouchers to customers.
One store manager of a provincial store said she hadn't expected the news and was worried for her staff.
First Union general secretary Robert Reid said the union had a few members in Shanton, but was yet to speak with them or the company's management about the receivership.
New Zealand Retailers Association spokesperson Louise Evans McDonald said it was a shame that a brand that had been around for a while was suffering - but the clothing sector was highly competitive.
"If you are not a store that has a particular point of differentiation, and you are in the mass market - if you don't stand out, you are fighting for every dollar."
General business costs such as the rise in insurance levies, and earthquake strengthening requirements were also putting the squeeze on retailers, she said.
Papakura-based Shanton Retail suffered a loss of $353,496 for the year ended June 2011, an increase on the previous year's $254,776 loss.
It had total borrowings of $3.4 million in 2011, compared to $3.6m in 2010.
Shanton Apparel is majority owned by Australian-based Atamine. Carter Trading in Auckland, and Manukau-based Taca also hold stakes in the firm.
Shanton Retail was formed in 2004.
Anthony Harris has been appointed as the company's receiver, according to Company Office records. His six-monthly report is due on June 13 this year.
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