A well-known retail identity has secured the future of five stores after buying a streamlined fashion accessories chain which collapsed earlier this year.
A well-known retail identity has secured the future of five stores after buying a streamlined fashion accessories chain which collapsed earlier this year.

Stores rescued from struggling fashion chain

The future of five Queensland stores in the streamlined Colette by Colette Hayman fashion accessories chain looks more secure after the company's sale to former Myer boss Bernie Brookes and partners.

The once-popular retail group, which sells handbags, jewellery and accessories, collapsed into voluntary administration in January.

At the time the company had 140 stores across Australia and New Zealand, including 30 in Queensland.

Voluntary administrators Vaughan Strawbridge, Sam Marsden and Jason Tracy from Deloitte have extensively restructured the retailer over the past seven months, cutting the store network to 35 outlets.

 

Former Myer boss Bernie Brookes has bought into the Colette by Colette Hayman chain.
Former Myer boss Bernie Brookes has bought into the Colette by Colette Hayman chain.

It now has five stores in Queensland at: Riverlink Shopping Centre in Ipswich, Westfield Northlakes, Willows Shopping Centre in Thuringowa, Westfield Chermside and DFO Brisbane.

"We are very pleased to have secured the future of this business and jobs for close to 300 employees, including nearly 100 permanent roles," said Deloitte's Mr Marsden.

"The sale of the business to a group of experienced retail investors represents a significant achievement in the current environment, and reflects the strength of the brand and the commitment of the group's employees to its future.

"It follows a robust due diligence process, undertaken in the midst of the market uncertainty brought on by COVID-19, which saw several parties submit offers.

"The new owners bring with them a significant track record in Australian and international retail and are well positioned to reinvigorate the brand across a streamlined 35-store network across Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia, and a strong online platform."

The buyer is an investment team led by Mr Brookes and includes former Myer and Woolworths executive John Skellern who will become the new CEO. Creditors of the group voted in favour of the transaction at their second meeting last week.

"Our core offer of handbags and jewellery will continue, with a fresh focus on the strong performing stores retained, and a significant investment in the digital space," Mr Brooks said.

The business will have its own in-house digital, design and marketing team in place "to ensure a focus on online sales and digital".

 

Colette by Colette Hayman went into voluntary administration earlier this year.
Colette by Colette Hayman went into voluntary administration earlier this year.

 

"We have developed a strong plan to stabilise and then build the brand while investing in the business," he said. "In addition, we have a strong supplier base who will continue to support Colette including providing much needed fresh stock immediately to stores."

After leaving Myer in 2015, Mr Brookes went on to run South African retail chain Edcon and more recently was appointed the chairman of troubled general merchandise wholesaler Funtastic.

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Five Qld stores rescued from struggling fashion chain