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Coles says it will exchange Dick Smith vouchers

Source: Dick Smith/Facebook

If you were one of the unlucky people with a gift voucher for Dick Smith – now worth nothing – Coles has some good news for you.

The retailing giant has announced it will exchange Dick Smith vouchers bought at its stores for a Coles gift card of equal value.

They have also sent a letter to McGrath Nicol, Dick Smith’s administrator pressuring it to honour other outstanding gift vouchers.

Originally, Coles and other gift card vendors had said they were unable to offer refunds for the cards as the money was already sent on to Dick Smith.

However, they seemed to have a change of heart this morning, saying “as a gesture of goodwill to our customers”, any Dick Smith voucher bought at Coles after July 1 is valid to be exchanged for a Coles voucher.

Those who got their voucher as a gift at Christmas will have to hope whoever bought it for them kept the Coles receipt. To claim the exchange, there will be a website set up soon or you can phone 1800 061 562.

The moves gives Coles a jump on its struggling rival Woolworths which offloaded Dick Smith a little over two years ago.

If you did get a voucher from Woolworths or somewhere other than Coles, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission has advised to contact your credit card provider to try get your money back.

Dick Smith announced on Tuesday that the Australian electronics chain would be going into voluntary administration after poor management and sales forced them into big debts.

Trouble really began to hit Dick Smith in November last year when the company slashed its inventory value by 20% and focused on recovering debt.

Stocks plunged at the time by nearly 70% at one point and pushed the value of the company to less than it was worth before Anchorage capital bought the chain of Woolworths for just $94 million.

The company then opened up for what was essentially a fire sale, offering some private-label products for a discount of up to 97.5%. While the sale was meant to drive strong sales across the Christmas period, stores had a serious lack of inventory. This pushed customers away even more, with no viable options to replenish stock due to Dick Smith not wanting to take on more debt.

The retailer’s shares last traded at 35.5c — 83 per cent lower than its debut price of $2.20 when Anchorage floated it on the Australian Securities Exchange in December 2013.

As it stands, Dick Smith’s current largest investor is Macquarie Investment Management LTD, US based FIL Limited and Ausbil Investment Management Limited.

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