Fashion labels Marcs and David Lawrence have gone in to voluntary administration, citing deteriorating sales, general market conditions and poor cash flow.
They are the latest in a string of players in the retail sector, under pressure from online trading and emerging competitors, going into administration, including Payless Shoes, Pumkin Patch, Howards Storage World and Dick Smith stores, which closed last year.
The business is now being prepared for sale. Both brands were started in the 1970s, Marcs the classic outfitter for men and David Lawrence the same for women.
Mark Keighery, the founder of Marcs, died from cancer in 2008.
Impacted are 1,130 staff in 52 stand alone stores, 11 outlets and more than 140 concession stores in Australia and New Zealand.
About 640 are employed a casuals, 260 full-time and 230 part-time. There are 10 stores in New Zealand employing 42.
Geoffrey Reidy and Andrew Barnden of Insolvency experts Rodgers Reidy were appointed voluntary administrators to M. Webster Holdings Pty Limited and Webster Asset Pty Limited.
“We intend to review the operations of the businesses and continue to trade while we market the businesses for sale,” says Geoffrey Reidy.
The man behind the brands is Malcolm Webster, who co-founded Jigsaw in the 1970s and the sole director of the companies now in administration. He bought David Lawrence in 2000 and Marcs from Oroton in 2006.
Wages have been paid to January 30 and superannuation to the end of December.
All gift cards and returns will be handled in accordance with existing policies.
The administrators will be organising a meeting of creditors.