Postie Plus to shut 12 stores, cull 64 workers
The administrators of failed retailer Postie Plus Group [NZX: PPG], which has been bought by a yet-to-be-named foreign retailer, will close 12 of the chain's 82 shops in New Zealand, cutting 64 workers.
Prior to the appointment of administrators David Bridgeman and Colin McCloy, Postie Plus management had identified a number of stores that were no longer viable, the PwC receivers said in a statement. The retailer went into voluntary administration last month after unsuccessful attempts to recapitalise the business, including an attempt to find a buyer or a new cornerstone shareholder.
The stores to be closed are Birkenhead, Bishopdale Mens, Womens and Kids, Dannevirke, Gore, Mt Roskill, Papatoetoe, Rangiora Kids, St Lukes, Sydenham, Te Kuiti and Westgate. All staff have been notified and the stores will close in the first week of July, with the remaining 70 to stay open.
On June 4, the day after the appointment of Bridgman and McCloy, a conditional agreement was reached to sell the chain as a going concern to an overseas-based retailer which doesn't have a presence in New Zealand. The buyer is conducting due diligence, with the sale expected to be completed around the end of the month.
In April, Postie Plus said it was in breach of lending covenants and expected to remain so "for the foreseeable future," meaning its bank funding is repayable on demand, though the arrangements in place with lenders were sufficient to meet the company's forecast funding requirements up to July 30.
The company was hit by supply chain disruptions in the summer of 2012 and 2013 after outsourcing its distribution centre to a third party, while shifting its headquarters to Auckland, where it anticipated growth. After receiving legal advice, Postie Plus had said it intended to "vigorously" pursue a damages claim.
Postie Plus shares last traded at 7.3 cents, prior to being halted at the end of May pending an announcement, and then suspended on the administrator appointment. The shares were the third-worst performer on the NZX All Index over the past year, having slumped 52 percent.