Retailer Harris Scarfe placed into receivership in pre-Christmas shock

Ian Bushnell 11 December 2019 43
Harris Scarfe at Fyshwick

The Harris Scarfe store at the Canberra Outlet Centre in Fyshwick. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

National home goods and apparel retailer Harris Scarfe, which has four stores in the ACT, has been placed into receivership and will immediately go on the market to be sold as a going concern.

The news could not come at a worse time, two weeks before Christmas, for its 1800 staff nationwide.

Harris Scarfe has stores in Dickson, Westfield Belconnen, Canberra Outlet Centre in Fyshwick and South.Point in Tuggeranong.

The secured lender to the group appointed Deloitte Restructuring Services partners Vaughan Strawbridge, Kathryn Evans and Tim Norman as receivers and managers over Harris Scarfe and a number of associated entities after the retailer went into voluntary administration.

Mr Strawbridge said in a statement that trading would continue as normal over the Christmas period and employees will continue to be paid by the Receivers.

He also said he was confident assets were more than sufficient to meet all employees’ entitlements and the receivers intended to sell the business as a going concern and preserve as many jobs as possible.

The receivers will honour gift cards and lay-by deposits in full.

“Harris Scarfe is a longstanding retail institution,” Mr Strawbridge said. “We will be making every effort to secure a future for the business and intend to commence an immediate sale of business process.”

Harris Scarfe operates 66 stores selling bed linen, kitchenware, homewares, electrical appliances and apparel. It has annual sales totalling $380 million.

Store managers and staff have been told not to comment.

The union representing Harris Scarfe workers said the announcement came without warning and staff were shocked.

SDA National Secretary Gerard Dwyer said the union was deeply concerned at the news, which came only a month after private equity firm Allegro Funds acquired the retailer.

“It is yet another reminder that private equity companies have no long-term interest in retail and the employees in our industry – first Myer, then Dick Smith, now this,” he said.

“The SDA demands that the receivers demonstrate how they plan to live up to their assurances that Harris Scarfe workers will be paid in full as stores continue to trade through the peak Christmas period.”

He said the union would file a dispute with the Fair Work Commission over the company’s failure to consult with the SDA prior to the announcement.

“Just as importantly, SDA is seeking urgent consultations with the receivers to guarantee that there are in fact sufficient funds (as Deloittes have stated) to meet the legal entitlements of all employees,” he said.

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43 Responses to Retailer Harris Scarfe placed into receivership in pre-Christmas shock
Joe McDonald Joe McDonald 9:24 am 15 Dec 19

We are planning to come down for the Folk Festival over the Easter weekend next year. However if there’s a big cyclone this year might see you earlier

Emma Macintyre Emma Macintyre 2:07 pm 13 Dec 19

Rebecca Beecham bring on the sales

Fiona Hanks Fiona Hanks 12:25 pm 13 Dec 19

Are you heading to the Berra ???

Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 10:21 am 13 Dec 19

Amazing, I only heard of the name of this shop a few months ago. Just shows I'm not a huge shopper. Also, I don't shop in the places where the Canberra shops of this chain are located.

Chelsea Zeitlhofer Chelsea Zeitlhofer 6:42 am 13 Dec 19

Moana McLaughlin your favourite store

Joe McDonald Joe McDonald 12:03 am 13 Dec 19

Hope I can get a bargain!

Kuchi Ibrahimi Kuchi Ibrahimi 11:13 pm 12 Dec 19

Ali Sina Maihanyar Barakzai

If u need anything for ur 🏠 it seems to be a huge sale

Gemma Hawkins Gemma Hawkins 10:23 pm 12 Dec 19

Oh no Melany! What will you do without the hairy scarf 🧣?

Benjamin Rose Benjamin Rose 8:02 pm 12 Dec 19

Another victim of the retail apocalypse. David Jones, Myer, EB Games, and Harvey Norman are all on death row as far as I'm concerned.

    Stephen Page-Murray Stephen Page-Murray 8:24 pm 12 Dec 19

    Benjamin Rose

    Hardly Normal going bust would make my day!

Erin Emery Erin Emery 7:18 pm 12 Dec 19

Aileen Hayden shocker!!!

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 7:05 pm 12 Dec 19

Some of their current stores look rather large, so there may be options to downsize and save rent, like Myer at Belconnen.

Anna La Anna La 4:11 pm 12 Dec 19

Phillip Hai Nguyen stock up on the air fryer 😂

Erin Emery Erin Emery 3:52 pm 12 Dec 19

Aileen Hayden shocker!!!

Capital Retro Capital Retro 3:45 pm 12 Dec 19

“A pity for those who lose their employment, maybe a rethink is needed re. what the jobs of the future are going to be.”

And what is your job, Renea? Disruption proof is it?

Dianne Egan Dianne Egan 12:48 pm 12 Dec 19

Alex Brown time to buy up!!!

Lucy Baker Lucy Baker 12:21 pm 12 Dec 19

Lovely unpretentious shop in Dickson with cheap parking nearby. I hope it will survive. My go-to for manchester and cheap clothes, plus some kitchen gear.

MERC600 MERC600 11:28 am 12 Dec 19

“”you can buy everything cheaper online and with way more choices””
Have tried it. My neighbour is grateful. Shoes I got were too small, ditto a jacket.

Ben Garden Ben Garden 11:17 am 12 Dec 19

Why would people expect a store like this to survive when you can buy everything cheaper online and with way more choices ?? Bricks and mortar can’t match convenience and range.......

    Margaret Edwards Margaret Edwards 9:37 pm 12 Dec 19

    Ben Garden but you can’t try it on before you buy when it is online!!!

Madi Harju Madi Harju 10:23 am 12 Dec 19

Jake Ingram time to stick up on wine glasses

Matt McCreadie Matt McCreadie 10:08 am 12 Dec 19

Rachel oh noes!

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