Jan Cameron struggles to keep shopping chain

Australian-domiciled National Business Review Rich Lister Jan Cameron is pleading with suppliers to stay on board as she tries to restructure her collapsed Retail Adventures discount chain in Australia.

Ms Cameron, who lives in Triabunna, Tasmania, is competing with eight others who have expressions of interest for Retail Adventures, according to the Australian Financial Review.

She has written to suppliers and landlords explaining how she will restructure the business and invest $A50 million to keep the stores trading during administration.

The business, which has a turnover of $A648 million, went into voluntary administration in October.

The 59-year-old bought Retail Adventures – which includes 236 Sam's Warehouse and Crazy Clark's stores – out of receivership for about $A85 million in 2009.

Sam's Warehouse – formerly owned by The Warehouse New Zealand – was founded in 2008 after The Warehouse sold its Australian operations.

She claimed when she bought Retail Adventures that "it would be difficult for a company like this to lose money".

But the business has since lost $A70 million and more than 50 stores have been closed.

Ms Cameron has loaned the business $A80 million out of her personal funds to prop up the business.

She has said closing 60 stores would return Retail Adventures to profitability.

Ms Cameron – who founded the Kathmandu chain and remains the biggest shareholder in Postie Plus – is ranked 27th on the NBR Rich List with an estimated worth of $NZ350 million.

She sold Kathmandu in 2006 for $A250 million.

callison@nbr.co.nz

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