Melbourne-based premium chocolate maker and retailer Koko Black went into voluntary administration yesterday, with Deloitte Restructuring Services appointed to see if the business, which has 14 retail outlets across Australia, can be restructured.
Founder Shane Hills opened the first Koko Black store in Melbourne in 2003. There are now seven stores, known as salons, in Melbourne, two each in Sydney and Perth and outlets in Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra, as well as manufacturing plant in Coburg, Victoria. The company employs around 300 people.
A recently opened store in Queenstown, New Zealand, is not part of the appointment.
Sal Algeri, Deloitte Restructuring partner and joint voluntary administrator said Koko Black had expanded very rapidly and undertook a series of major projects over the past 18 months that put pressure on the business.
“In combination, the level of activity was beyond the resources of the business,” he said.
“Our appointment will not have any impact on Koko Black’s operations. It’s important that customers, suppliers and employees understand that it’s business as usual.
“Christmas is historically the strongest trading period of the year and we urge everyone to support the business during this time.”
Koko Black opened two Sydney stores in premium CBD locations not far from each other – the first at the Queen Victoria Building on George Street, and most recently, diagonally opposite in the Strand Arcade.
Along with high-end hand made chocolates, flavoured with fillings such as leatherwood honey, Cointreau, Bailey’s and coffee and brandy, which sell for $24.50 for 9 pieces or $39.50 for 16, the stores have a dessert-focussed menu, savoury dishes such as sandwiches, as well as a $28 dessert degustation and $24 high tea.
Algeri said Deloitte will be looking to recapitalise and restructure the business “with a view to underpinning its future viability and growth”.
A first meeting of creditors will take place on November 19.
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