Troubled retailer Roger David will close its 58 fashion and accessories stores across Australia within weeks after buyers failed to emerge in a four-week process to sell the business as a going concern.
The demise of the 76-year-old Australian retailer will also mean the end of 500 jobs in the days before Christmas.
Roger David has 300 full-time employees and almost 200 casuals and part-timers. It has 19 stores in Victoria, 15 in Queensland, 12 in NSW, seven in Western Australia, two each in South Australia and Tasmania, and one in Canberra.
Roger David was placed in voluntary administration on October 18, with the influx of international competitors and the growth of online shopping cited as causes at the time.
Once Australia’s third-largest specialty menswear chain, Roger David had slashed store numbers in the past two years in an effort to survive.
Online shopping is always the go-to explanation for bricks and mortar retail death. But ecommerce competition isn't as big of a factor as rental costs. Rents rob businesses like Roger David of the financial flexibility they need to keep up. #business #ausbiz #retail
— Matthew Elmas (@mjelmas) November 15, 2018
On Thursday, administrator Craig Shepard, of KordaMentha Restructuring, blamed conditions in the retail industry for the lack of buyers for the troubled chain. He said there had been some interest in the company, but the retail clothing environment was too tough to attract firm bids.
“Everyone recognised the strength and the affection for the brand, but it did not pass the viability test,” Mr Shepard said.
“Roger David was a victim of rising fixed costs, fierce competition from online and global competitors and cautious consumer demand.”
All of the chain’s remaining stock, including its summer range, is being moved into stores and will be heavily discounted to encourage buyers. Roger David’s shops will be closed by the middle of December.
“Discounts of 60 per cent or more will continue until the last day,” Mr Shepard said.
“The employees and customers have been remarkable in the past four weeks to help provide the company with cash flow to help pay entitlements and creditors.”