HEYDAY: One of the Silly Solly's stores in 2000.
HEYDAY: One of the Silly Solly's stores in 2000.

Where Solly's buyer went wrong in 2005

AT its height, Silly Solly's consisted of 40 stores and employed 2000 staff.

New Zealand-based The Warehouse acquired Silly Solly's along with 77 Clint's Crazy Bargains stores for $118 million in 2000.

The Australian venture was not successful and the stores were sold in 2005.

At the time, The Age reported that founder Steven Tindall took responsibility for the failure and said he had underestimated the structure retail would take in Australia.

"I take a total and full responsibility along with the members of the board in the decision we made in 2000 in embarking on the purchase of Clint's and Solly's," Mr Tindall told The Warehouse shareholders in Auckland in 2005.

"We unfortunately underestimated the competitive response, we underestimated what structure retail took in Australia - and for that I would like to stand up and personally apologise."

Shareholder Derek Curran asked for a "ballpark figure" on the cost of the Australian venture and said they would all feel better if they had someone to blame.

Mr Tindall said if they needed someone to blame, to blame him, but he would probably make the same decision in the future if he was faced with same set of facts as back in 2000.

"I think taking risks for growth is the right thing to do."

Chairman Keith Smith said the five-year venture cost the company around $250 million.