10 January 2020

Harris Scarfe to close Nowra store

| Ian Bushnell
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Harris Scarfe's Dickson

Harris Scarfe’s Dickson store in Canberra was still open this week. Photos: Michelle Kroll, Region Media.

Harris Scarfe’s Nowra store will close its doors as part of a nationwide shutdown of 21 outlets in preparation for a sale of the pared-back retail business. The Merimbula, Moruya, Ulladulla and Shellharbour stores will continue to trade.

News of the closures comes a month after the business went into voluntary administration and Deloitte was appointed receivers, just before Christmas.

Deloitte says the 21 stores will close over the next four weeks, affecting 88 full-time, 128 part-time and 224 casual employees.

The stores were selected for closure based on past and likely future profitability.

In the ACT, the Dickson store will close while stores in Belconnen, Fyshwick and Tuggeranong will continue trading.

Deloitte says 1380 positions will remain at the 44 stores that will continue to trade.

Harris Scarfe

Fourteen staff who work at the Dickson store will be affected.

Receiver and Deloitte restructuring services partner Vaughn Strawbridge said the decision to close the stores was a difficult one.

“We have continued to trade the business since our appointment, and this has been well supported by local employees and customers, so this has been a difficult decision,” Mr Strawbridge said.

“All efforts are being made to redeploy affected staff around the rest of the store network, and all staff that leave the business will receive all wages and entitlements in full on the closure of individual stores.”

Two stores will close in Western Australia, six in Queensland, eight in NSW, three in Victoria, one in South Australia and the ACT.

“Going forward, we certainly remain focused on running the broader store network, and selling the business as the best outcome for remaining employees and suppliers,” Mr Strawbridge said.

Private equity firm Allegro Funds only purchased the business in November as part of former owner Greenlit brands’ divestment of its general merchandise division, including the Best & Less, Debenhams and Postie chains.

The union representing staff said its top priority was to ensure that all entitlements were honoured and paid out to all employees who will be out of a job next month.

“With retail figures at their worst levels of the past 30 years the Federal Government is asleep at the wheel,” SDA secretary Gerard Dwyer said. “It needs to stop pursuing policies that hurt our retail sector and start focusing on ones that help it or else more companies and their workers will suffer.”

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