Early investigations into the retailer’s financial situation paints a bleak picture, but administrators hope a buyer can save the iconic Aussie chain.
Early investigations into the retailer’s financial situation paints a bleak picture, but administrators hope a buyer can save the iconic Aussie chain.

Regional fashion workers among 1200 creditors owed $50m

ABOUT 1200 creditors of embattled fashion chain Jeanswest are owed up to $50 million, early investigations have uncovered.

The Courier-Mail can reveal about 988 workers and 200 creditors are owed the mammoth amount after the Australian retailer collapsed on January 15.

Early investigations into the company's financial affairs by administrator James Stewart of KPMG have revealed the debt to creditors is "roughly in the vicinity of $40m to $50m".

Of that, about $2.6m is owed to 988 employees.

Mr Stewart said it did not include any redundancy payout as a result of the decision to close 37 stores and put 263 people out of work to streamline the business and lure a buyer.

About $7.2 million is owed to trade creditors and $20m to related parties.

HSBC Bank is understood to be the largest creditor, owed $11m.

Landlords are owed about $2m, excluding any additional claims to come from the closure of the 37 stores.

Jeanswest made about $100 million in sales each year.
Jeanswest made about $100 million in sales each year.

The much-loved Australian retailer opened its first store in Perth in 1972, and employed 988 people in 146 stores across the country with sales topping $100 million.

Administrators have continued to operate the business but last week announced the closure of 37 stores, including six in Queensland.

Queensland stores at Burleigh, Castletown, Chermside, Earlville, Maroochydore and the Myer Centre will close.

Mr Stewart hosted the first meeting of creditors in Melbourne this morning, where creditors got the first chance since the company collapsed to voice their opinions.

Creditors voted not to form a committee of inspection and agreed Mr Stewart would remain in control of the company as administrators worked to find a buyer for the chain.

About 25 creditors attended the meeting and others, including the Australian Taxation Office, phoned in.


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