National furniture chain in voluntary administration
THE company overseeing The Outdoor Furniture Specialists chain has gone into administration amid increasingly tough times for the retail sector.
The Brisbane-based company is the head franchisor for 46 stores across Australia and claims to be the largest specialist outdoor furniture retailer in the country.
Franchise store operators contacted yesterday said they were continuing to trade as normal despite the administration.
Sydney-based insolvency practitioners Anthony Elkerton and Justin Holzman were appointed joint and several voluntary administrators of the company last week.
Founded in 1990 by brothers Craig and Nigel Davison, the company's stores sold outdoor benches, lounges, tables and chairs.
Mr Holzman said yesterday that the first meeting of creditors of the company would be held next Tuesday, February 6.
"At this stage, the administrators are investigating the affairs of the company, and a report to creditors will be issued in approximately four weeks," Mr Holzman said.
He did not comment on why the company had been placed into administration or how much money is owed to creditors.
Outdoor Furniture Specialists founder and chief executive Craig Davison was unavailable for comment yesterday.
Mr Davison, who serves as chairman of NRL hopeful the Brisbane Bombers, sold a stake in The Outdoor Furniture Specialists to private equity group Teaminvest, in 2014. Outdoor Furniture Specialists is listed as a supporter of the Bombers on the team's website.
The company's administration comes on top of trouble for other retailers. Up-market fashion label Oroton went into administration last year and the women's fashion brand Diana Ferrari was to close or rebrand its stores.
Outdoor gear seller Mountain Designs is culling more than two-thirds of its outlets, leaving only 12 flagship stores for the Brisbane-based company.
The outdoor furniture market is a tough one with competition from Harvey Norman, Freedom Furniture and discount chains such as Kmart, Target and Bunnings.
The arrival of Amazon and interest from fast-growing Chinese e-commerce platforms is set to further disrupt the Australian retail sector in the year ahead.