Receivers for struggling women’s’ clothing chain Identity have announced they are unable to find a buyer for the business, so it will have to shut down. They said the closure reflected the current difficult trading conditions in the retail clothing industry, as shown by the struggles of Jean Jones, Shanton and Postie+.
The chain has been in receivership since 16 July.
Receivers Kare Johnstone and William Black were appointed to manage the company’s assets by the Bank of New Zealand after a downturn in trading.
Nine out of its 16 stores were closed in the process.
The report says Identity was advertised as for sale in both New Zealand and Australia, but no one was up for the challenge.
While the receivers had several expressions of interest, no offers were made to buy the business.
As a result, the company is shutting down. It owes the Bank of New Zealand just over $2 million.
Other secured creditors include Verge Sportswear, Ricoh New Zealand, David Winter, and Longbeach Holdings.
Employees are owed $139,457, while the IRD is owed $134,000. Customs is owed $38,000.
Black said it’s unlikely that surplus funds will be available from the receivership for unsecured creditors.
The stores that remain open will close once all stock is sold down.
Identity’s demise shows the current tough climate for womenswear retailers.
Many major Kiwi brands are either currently in administration or liquidation, or have been in the past year.
Postie+ was in voluntary administration just over a year ago, but is making a comeback. See our Q&A with its recently appointed CEO here.
Jean Jones was put into liquidation on July 31.
One of the liquidators, Amanda-Jane Atkins, told the NBR that Jean Jones failed because of tough trading conditions over the past summer and winter seasons.
Shanton went into voluntary administration in January, owing $7.8 million to 206 creditors.
In June, it was put into liquidation and a mystery buyer scooped it up in July.
It appears the 12 stores that remain around the country are getting revamped with a “new look”.
The number of stores has decreased from the 27 outlets it had open at the start of the year, and the 18 stores remaining at the time of liquidation.
According to Shanton’s website, its new look will be revealed on 25 September and a new summer 2015 collection will be launched.
The only store that remains untouched so far is Ezibuy, which is very private about its finances.