All Pumpkin Patch stores will close by mid-February after receivers were unable to entice a buyer for the failed children’s wear chain, which traded through the traditionally busy holiday period.
Sixty-eight Pumpkin Patch and Charlie & Me stores employing 560 people will close by January 31, and the remaining 56 stores across New Zealand and Australia will shut as and when stock is sold, through the middle of next month, receiver Neale Jackson of KordaMentha said in a statement.
Jackson added two earthquake damaged stores that are currently closed will not be reopening.
Pumpkin Patch staff at head office will lose their jobs over the coming weeks.
“We have successfully traded stores through the traditional holiday period and stock levels are now considerably reduced,” said Jackson. “The balance of stock will be consolidated in the remaining stores as the receivership enters its final phase.”
Jackson said all Pumpkin Patch staff are aware that the business is closing down and that stores will gradually close as stock is sold.
“The staff have been advised of impending closure dates and have access to EAP support services,” he said, and added the staff will receive holiday pay, outstanding wages and other preferential entitlements (up to the statutory cap in New Zealand).
Staff at the head office have also been given notice that their employment will be coming to an end progressively over the coming weeks.
“This has been a very difficult time for all Pumpkin Patch staff. We acknowledge and thank them for continuing to work diligently to see the closure process through,” Jackson said.
The company was tipped into receivership by its lenders in October and appointed voluntary administrators after failing to reinvent itself in the face of shrinking sales and too much debt. The receivers wanted to sell the business as a going concern, but couldn’t shake out any buyers.
Pumpkin Patch owed its lender ANZ Bank New Zealand $59.5 million as of the date of receivership, the report says, up from $46m at the year ended July 2016, when it posted an annual loss of $15.5 million.
All staff were aware that stores would gradually close as stock was sold and would receive holiday pay, outstanding wages and any other entitlements, said Jackson. “This has been a very difficult time for all Pumpkin Patch staff. We acknowledge them for continuing to work diligently to see the closure process through.”
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