Australia Topshop franchisee in administration, but says it's business as usual
The franchisee for Arcadia’s Topshop and Topman said Wednesday that it has filed for voluntary administration. Austradia Pty Ltd has named Ferrier Hodgson partners James Stewart, Jim Sarantinos, and Ryan Eagle as its administrators.
But Stewart said in a regulatory announcement that it will be “business as usual” as the administration team “works closely with Arcadia Group on supporting and right-sizing the Australian business to a sustainable platform going forward.”
Stewart said that the 760 employees will continue to be paid by the administrators and normal customer policies such as gift cards and product returns will continue during the administration period.
It seems clear that the Topshop and Topman names will survive in the Australian market with a clear demand there for its particular brand of trend-focused fast fashion. Topshop/Topman has been operating nine standalone stores, 17 Myer concessions and an online business in Australia and has enjoyed annual sales of around A$90m.
The separately owned and operated Australian franchise opened locally in 2011 and Myer owns around one-fifth of the operation. Earlier this year Myer said that losses at the Topshop operation grew to A$0.6m in H1 from A$0.1m a year earlier.
Its administration filing is further evidence that times are as tough for fashion retailers in the country as they are in many other countries around the world, even for some of the biggest names in affordable fashion.
The arrival of more global chains in the local market and an increasing move by consumers towards e-sales have added to the competitive pressures at a time when shoppers are also re-assessing where and how they spend their discretionary cash. And the arrival of Amazon this year will not make the retail environment any easier with local chains that have been battling sluggish sales likely to see even more market share seeping away.
Myer has itself seen challenges on the sales front with the company reporting a 3.3% sales drop for Q3.
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