Despite a final flurry of activity, as customers reportedly rushed into stores to scoop up men’s suits on markdown, Roger David, Australia’s third-largest specialty menswear retailer, will close for good in a matter of weeks.
The 76-year-old retailer appointed administrators last month, citing its inability to compete with the influx of multinational retailers and the rapid expansion of online shopping, and kicked off a closing down sale that was meant to raise as much money as possible for employees and other creditors.
Just one week later, administrator Craig Shepard from KordaMentha Restructuring said the sale had “turned into something much bigger than that”.
According to Shepard, sales had more than doubled in the week and customers were showing and “amazing wave of support and loyalty” for the brand. He said that buyers were taking a second look and flagged a possible rescue, which in the end, never transpired.
On Thursday, four weeks after Roger David entered voluntary administration, Shepard announced the retailer will close its 57 stores within a matter of weeks by early to mid-December.
“Everyone recognised the strength and the affection for the brand, but it did not pass the viability test,” Shepard said in a statement.
According to Shepard, the retail clothing environment was “too tough” to make it work.
“Roger David was a victim of rising fixed costs, fierce competition from online and global competitors and cautious consumer demand,” he said.
The closure will impact 300 full-time employees and almost 200 casual and part-time workers. Roger David has 193 employees in 19 stores in Victoria, 98 employees in 15 stores in Queensland, 77 employees in 12 stores in NSW, 60 employees in seven stores in Western Australia, 15 employees in two stores in South Australia, 15 employees in two stores in Tasmania and four employees in one store in Canberra.
“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,” Shepard said.
All remaining stock, including the summer range, is being moved into stores and will be priced to clear, with discounts of 60 per cent or more.