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Bids for right-sized Harris Scarfe come to a close

After 70-odd days in receivership, department store Harris Scarfe has welcomed its final bids, with administrator Deloitte Restructuring Services cutting off offers for the business at close of business on Friday, February 21.

Deloitte expects to spend the next week assessing offers and addressing final due diligence queries in order to finalise a sale or recapitalisation deal to bring the chain out of administration. 

According to The Australian, front runners include private equity firms Alceon Group and Momentum, as well as Kathmandu founder Jan Cameron.

Twenty-one stores have been shuttered since January, affecting approximately 400 staff members. According to Deloitte, approximately 70 per cent of these employees have been either redeployed, obtained alternative roles outside of the group, or are in an active application process for roles.

All impacted staff have received wages and entitlements in full, receiver Vaughan Strawbridge said. 

“We could not have hoped for any better support from everyone in the business, the stores looked great and they present the business exceptionally well,” Strawbridge said. 

During the sale process Deloitte positioned Harris Scarfe as having suffered as a non-core asset of a larger group, and that after a right-sizing and re-focusing would retain a profitable core network and be able to enter a new growth chapter, according to documents seen by Inside Retail

The aforementioned larger group, Greenlit Brands, offloaded Harris Scarfe alongside Best & Less, Debenhams, and Postie retail chains in a sale of its general merchandise division to Allegro Funds in November of 2019. 

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