Aussie homewares icon’s shock collapse
One of Australia's most popular furniture and homewares company has become the latest victim of our ailing retail sector.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that online retailer Zanui had collapsed after it abruptly entered voluntary administration.
Yesterday, the company also confirmed the news on its social media channels, confirming KPMG partners Gayle Dickerson, Phil Quinlan and Morgan Kelly had been appointed as voluntary administrators of Zanui on October 28.
"The Administrators are seeking urgent expressions of interest for the sale of the business," Zanui wrote in a Facebook post.
"Zanui is continuing to trade as usual from this date and continuing to take and fulfil orders.
"We will be regularly keeping suppliers, creditors and other stakeholders up to date as we progress through the process."
The company advised that "any orders placed going forward will be honoured", but it "cannot offer refunds or accept returns at this time".
"We so appreciate that you have always stood behind us and our brand, which is why we wanted to bring you into the loop of what's going on," it said.
The news has devastated loyal fans - and also outraged some customers who fear they could be left out of pocket by the company's failure.
"Why on Earth would I support a company that I did purchase from often when my last order will not be honoured. I am beyond disappointed. I have literally just given you my money for free," one Facebook user posted yesterday, while another wrote: "What about the orders placed prior to this date that are paid for & have not been fulfilled … are these customers just supposed wear that Zanui?"
Another claimed her order was being held by a distributor who refused to send it as they were owed money by Zanui.
"So what happens now I'm out of pocket? This is not OK," she wrote.
In a statement, KPMG Australia's restructuring services partner Gayle Dickerson said the administrator was undertaking an "immediate assessment of the financial and operational
status of the business".
"It's early days in the administration process, but I confidently anticipate that we will be seeking urgent expressions of interest from parties to acquire the business," she said.
"We will be regularly keeping staff, suppliers and creditors up to date as we progress
through the process."
Creditors and key stakeholders will be contacted directly and a meeting of the creditors
of the company is scheduled for next Tuesday.
Customers with specific queries are urged to contact the customer service team.
RISE AND FALL OF ZANUI
The company was founded in 2011 by Dean Kelly, a former Booz and Co consultant, and Joakim Broms, an ex-banker, who were both in their late 20s.
In a few short years, it emerged as one of Australia's top online furniture and homewares destinations, selling everything from lounges to wall art and kitchenware.
It amassed a huge following among younger Aussies, including celebrities such as Guy Sebastian and Samantha Jade and tens of thousands of social media followers.
AUSSIE RETAIL IN TROUBLE
A string of big-name closures have rocked Australia this year, starting in January when menswear retailer Ed Harry went into voluntary administration.
A week later, Aussie sportswear favourite Skins also revealed it was on the brink of failure after applying for bankruptcy in a Swiss court.
At the end of the month, the Napoleon Perdis beauty empire also announced the cult make-up chain's 56 Aussie stores had closed for stocktake. Administrators were appointed, and scores of stores have since collapsed.
Footwear trailblazer Shoes of Prey also met its demise this year, along with British fashion giant Karen Millen, which in September revealed it would soon shut all Aussie stores, leaving around 80 jobs in peril.
Then, last week, activewear icon Stylerunner also went into administration, sending shockwaves through its loyal fan base.
The closures come after several experts, including Deloitte Access Economics partner David Rumbens, predicted retailers would struggle to keep the lights on in 2019.
In March, a Deloitte Access Economics report said consumers had been propping up the industry thanks to the tail end of the property market's boom and the rise of buy now, pay later platforms such as Afterpay.
But it claimed weakening house prices and doubts lingering over the local share market were tipped to weigh on consumers, with retail turnover growth predicted to fall to 1.6 per cent in 2019 compared with 2.2 per cent last year.
"Australia's retail sector has been sustaining a reasonable rate of sales growth in an unconventional way - not so much from income growth but leveraging off consumers' willingness to spend," Mr Rumbens said.
"It's fair to say that many retailers have only survived the last few years because we've lived beyond our means.
"But that ship has now sailed."
And in 2018, even more household names shut up shop, including plus-size womenswear brand Maggie T, Gap, Avon, Esprit, Toys 'R' Us, Max Brenner, Roger David and Laura Ashley.