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Fashion retailer to shut 58 shops, hundreds of job losses expected in Australia

January 9, 2020 4:45 pm
The Bardot store at Westfield Penrith, NSW is one of 58 closing across Australia. [Source: ABC News]

Women’s fashion retailer Bardot will shut the vast majority of its stores over the next two months, with the total extent of the job losses still to be confirmed.

Bardot will drastically shrink its store network by shutting 58 stores.

Only 14 stores will remain open, confined to New South Wales and Victoria.

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Fifty-six stores are scheduled to close by March.

Two stores — in Hobart and Knox, Victoria — already shut in early December.

The fashion chain entered administration in November, one of a slew of retailers to do so last year as conditions in the sector deteriorated.

Bardot had 72 stores across all states and territories and employed 800 staff at the time it fell into administration.

Administrators from KPMG said they are still pursuing the sale of the remaining business and that the store closures were “a very difficult decision”.

“I would like to thank Bardot staff for their hard work and efforts during this process.”

Administrators are yet to confirm the expected number of job losses and how many head office roles will go in addition to retail staff.

In November, Bardot’s chief executive Basil Artemides blamed a competitive retail environment for its financial woes.

“Despite double-digit growth in online sales … Bardot’s retail stores in Australia are competing in a highly cluttered, and increasingly discount-driven market,” he said.

Retail downturn hits a long list of companies
The announcement of the Bardot store closures follows news earlier this week that department store Harris Scarfe will close 21 stores, after entering receivership in December.

Bardot and Harris Scarfe join a long and growing list of high-profile Australian retailers that have collapse in the past few years.

In 2019, the local arm of womenswear brand Karen Millen entered administration, as did footwear chain Ziera and menswear retailer Ed Harry.

Napoleon Perdis Cosmetics also called in the administrators but was rescued from collapse mid-year.

In 2018, Laura Ashley and Roger David were among the retailers to go under.

Consumer spending growth in Australia fell to its lowest level since the global financial crisis in the September quarter, with the Reserve Bank’s interest rate cuts and the Federal Government’s tax cuts failing to translate into increased discretionary spending.

Some early indicators have suggested the devastating bushfire season may put a further dampener on consumer confidence and deliver a hit to economic growth in the short-term.

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