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What will happen to Harris Scarfe now that it’s entered voluntary administration?

Posted: 11 December 2019 5:43 pm

Harris Scarfe

The popular Australian retailer has collapsed, dismaying a huge number of staff across the country.

Following a slate of retailers entering voluntary administration over the past year, affordable Australian retailer Harris Scarfe has now announced that it's next in line. After 170 years in business, the chain store is in receivership, which has come as a massive shock to its some 1,800 workers.

While business will continue as usual over the busy Christmas period, staff will now be paid by the receivers, according to the appointed administrators, Deloitte Restructuring Services (DRS). In a statement, Deloitte has said that there is "more than sufficient" assets owned by the retailer to pay staff entitlements and that it aims to keep the jobs of as many people as possible.

DRS partner Vaughan Strawbridge has also said that Harris Scarfe is a "longstanding retail institution" and that Deloitte "will be making every effort to secure a future for the business".

Despite attempts to save jobs, the SDA retail union is now involved and plans to file a dispute with the Fair Work Commission. The decision comes after a failure by Harris Scarfe to consult with the union before making the announcement, sending workers into a panic.

SDA national secretary Gerard Dwyer has said in a statement, "This announcement has come without warning and employees are shocked and will be very concerned as they head into Christmas."

Administrators have advised that any customers holding Harris Scarfe gift cards and lay-by deposits will have them honoured in full.

Though Harris Scarfe is best known in South Australia, it also has footings in other states, with 66 stores operating across Australia. The retailer is best known for its range of bed linen, electrical and home appliances and kitchenware as well as mens and womens fashion.

Its shock announcement comes just two months after popular athleisure brand Stylerunner entered voluntary administration due to an increase in competition in both the e-commerce industry and the athleisure space.

UK fashion label Karen Millen and high-street UK chain Debenhams have also both entered into receivership this year.

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Main image: Facebook user Harris Scarfe

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