Eighty per cent of Bardot stores nationwide will close over the next two months, impacting hundreds of employees, as administrators look to restructure the womenswear chain in pursuit of a sale.
Administrators Brendan Richards and Ryan Eagle from KPMG on Thursday laid out their plan to close 58 of the retailer’s 72 bricks-and-mortar stores by March 1, 2020.
Store closures are already underway and a discounting program has been implemented to clear stock.
The 14 remaining stores will continue to trade on a business as usual basis in parallel to the sale and recapitalisation process, adminstrators said.
“While closing stores is a very difficult decision to make, our analysis has determined it is a necessary step in rebuilding the financial performance of the business and maximising the prospects of a successful sale or restructure,” Richards, KPMG Australia’s restructuring services partners, said in a statement.
“Subject to ongoing trading performance and discussions with landlords, it is not our intentio to close further stores at this point in time.”
Bardot went into voluntary administration on November 29, 2019, citing a highly cluttered and increasingly discount-driven market, which had made domestic trading difficult, despite international growth.
CEO Basil Artemides said the business had no choice but to bring in administrators to restructure the business.
The retailer is just the latest to cull its bricks-and-mortar store network, with Harris Scarfe announcing the closure of 21 stores this week, and Myer handing back space to landlords.
Richards thanked the Bardot staff, trade suppliers and landlords for their support during the administration process.
“Their co-operation and patience during this time is central to strengthening the prospects of a positive outcome for all stakeholders,” he said.
According to the administrators, the sale process is ongoing and a number of expressions of interest are being pursued.