Finance Consumer Homewares chain Ishka falls victim to ongoing retail gloom

Homewares chain Ishka falls victim to ongoing retail gloom

ishka voluntary administration
Ishka has more than 60 shops across Australia, many of them in country areas. Photo: Facebook
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Homewares retailer Ishka is the latest casualty of Australia’s retail crisis, announcing on Thursday that it had collapsed after almost 50 years in business.

The Victorian-based chain specialises in handmade craft, gifts, clothing and homewares.

It has 60 shops across the country, and employs more than 450 people.

In an announcement on Facebook, owner and chief executive CEO Toby Darvall said the decision to put the nearly 50-year-old business into voluntary administration had come after “some very tough months”.

“I am so sorry to have to let you know that we have made the difficult decision to put our business into voluntary administration,” he wrote.

“We will try absolutely everything we can to save it and stay in business and keep our beautiful stores open.”

Ishka is the latest in a host of Australian stores to collapse or cut back business as retail’s dark days continue. They include Harris Scarfe, EB Games, Jeanswest and Colette by Colette Hayman.

Biggest store closures in the past 12 months

  • Bardot: The women’s fashion retailer announced on January 9 that it would shut 58 stores and make 530 workers redundant. CEO Basil Artemides blamed “an increasingly discount-driven market”.
  • Curious Planet: The science store formerly known as Australian Geographic announced on January 13 that it would close 63 outlets, after a two-month sales campaign failed to lure a buyer.
  • Criniti’s: The Italian restaurant chain told employees in November 2019 that it had entered voluntary administration, with several of its 13 sites on the chopping board.
  • Dimmeys: November 2019 also brought the demise of the discount retailer, after 166 years of trading.
  • Ed Harry: The menswear retailer went out of business in January 2019, closing all 87 outlets.
  • EB Games: The video game retailer is to shut 19 stores before the end of February.
  • Harris Scarfe: The retailer went into receivership before Christmas and has since announced 21 store closures and 440 redundancies.
  • Karen Millen: British-based fashion retailer shut all seven of its standalone outlets in September. Roughly 80 people lost their jobs.
  • McWilliam’s Wines: One of the country’s oldest wine families went into administration last week, after more than 143 years of trading.
  • Muscle Coach: The health and fitness company went into voluntary administration after racking up debts of almost $1 million. The business has since been sold.
  • Napoleon Perdis: Loss of market share to Jo Horgan’s Mecca Cosmetica and LVMH’s Sephora led the cosmetics brand into voluntary administration early in 2019.
  • Red Rooster: Roughly 100 Queenslanders lost their jobs after the fast food chain closed seven local stores in October 2019.

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