Australian retail giant Myer 'erases' Topshop concessions from stores

Topshop Australia has closed five stores.

Topshop Australia has closed five stores.

Australian retail giant Myer has closed its 17 Topshop concessions as negotiations continue to save the Australian arm of the UK fast-fashion business from total collapse.

Visitors to Myer stores hoping to pick up a Topshop garment this week would have likely been met with scant signage and zero trace of the brand on the shop floor.

At Myer's Melbourne store, signs pointing to Topshop are still in place on the ground level and there is one signage pillar in the basement, otherwise there is almost no evidence of the brand on the shop floor, which has been filled with other youth brands. 

Myer took a 20 per cent stake in the Australian Topshop franchise in 2015.

Myer took a 20 per cent stake in the Australian Topshop franchise in 2015.

As negotiations continue to save the Australian franchise, which entered voluntary administration in May, administrators Ferrier Hodgson have closed a number of Topshop stores, including the flagship on Melbourne's Chapel Street and at Chatswood in Sydney.

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Myer took a 20 per cent stake in the Australian Topshop franchise in 2015, four years after the business launched locally.

There are two Topshop stores in New Zealand: Wellington and Auckland. A Christchurch store and second Auckland store are also on the horizon.

On Thursday, the department store's website was still showing Topshop was available in 17 of its stores nationally.

Myer declined to comment on the future of the concessions or its stake in the Topshop business.

Its last results showed showed soft earnings for Topshop, which were down A$3 million, potentially exposing Myer to a A$600,000 loss.

On Thursday, Myer shares closed at A83.5 cents near an all-time low of A82 cents.

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The latest development is the latest chapter in the demise of the fast-fashion giant in Australia, with the news last weekend that five of its nine standalone stores would close.

In May, Ferrier Hodgon's James Stewart said that talks were under way that could see Topshop's founder, Sir Phillip Green, rescue the Australian business. 

The four surviving Topshop stores, at Emporium Melbourne, Gowings Sydney, Bondi Junction and Brisbane, continue to trade while negotiations continue.

Topshop launched in Australia under a franchise agreement controlled by retail veteran Hilton Seskin, who last month blamed the parent company for the local failure of the brand.

He said lack of stock control and poor product quality were both to blame for the brand's performance in Australia.

When Topshop Australia entered administration, it had debts totalling A$35 million.

Topshop opened its first store in London in 1964.

 - Sydney Morning Herald


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