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Marcs and David Lawrence begin shutting up shops

Marcs on Pitt CThirteen David Lawrence and Marcs fashion stores will close and 20 staff will lose their jobs as administrators hunt for a buyer to save the troubled retailers.

Geoff Reidy, director of Rodgers Reidy, says the decision was made after a review of the businesses placed in voluntary administration on February 2.

“Together with senior management, we have reviewed the stand alone portfolio and have identified a number of stores to close.,” said Reidy.

“We continue to try to find areas for cost and revenue improvement while maintaining the core business and people as we pursue a sale of the business.”

Nine David Lawrence stores and four Marcs outlets will close by February 21 and 10 full-time staff and another 10 part-time staff will be made redundant.

Another 50 staff will be offered jobs in other stores and have the option of taking redundancy payouts.

Reidy said the stores identified for closure had already been earmarked to shut up shop before his firm was appointed as administrators.

“Whilst closing stores is always a difficult decision, we have a responsibility to all staff and all creditors of the business to make it more attractive to any purchaser and reduce short term trading losses,” he said in a statement on Thursday.

Potential buyers for the businesses have until February 22 to lodge their interest.

Reidy said he was pleased with the interest expressed so far and talks were likely to continue beyond next week’s deadline.

In the meantime, the administrators are trying to find ways to cut costs and improve revenues for the businesses.

The fashion retailers, which are two of Australia’s best-known labels, employ about 1130 staff in Australia and another 42 in New Zealand across their 52 stores, 11 outlets and 140 concessions.

When the businesses were placed in administration earlier this month the sole director of the companies behind the labels, Malcolm Webster, blamed deteriorating sales, poor cash flow and market conditions.

David Lawrence and Marcs are among a string of retailers hit by tough times in the Australian retail market.

Rhodes and Beckett, and Herringbone were placed in voluntary administration last week, leaving the futures of about 140 workers in doubt.

Payless Shoes and Howards Storage World appointed administrators two months ago, while children’s retailer Pumpkin Patch entered receivership last October.

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