“Gone to Gowings” is listed in the
Macquarie Dictionary as meaning “gone for all money.” Now it turns out
that Gowings itself is broke and looking for a bail out. An attempt to
interest the privately-owned Lowes Manhattan chain in Sydney’s once
iconic retail stores failed yesterday.

the recent history is messy. For years Gowings traded through one store
on the corner of Market and George Streets in Sydney’s CBD and done so
indifferently, protected in part by the company’s huge property and share portfolio.

But several years ago, after some
indifferent results and some tensions within the Gowing family, it was
decided to split the company into two businesses: the property and
investment arm and the retail business which licensed the name to the
new owners, G Retail, owned by a couple of investment bankers, Andrew
brown, formerly from Rothschild, and Tony Young, former head of
research Credit Suisse First Boston.

Tony Young quit as deputy
chairman and a non-executive director last week, after the company had
warned in the middle of October that its future was clouded and it
could not continue in its present form for much longer.

Young’s resignation was unexplained and was effective immediately on November 2, according to this statement.

director, Duncan Shaw, retired in August. There are only two directors
left, Andrew Brown, the chairman and the managing director, Tony

The company’s accounts were qualified in the 2005
annual report. Tony Young’s Strategic Value company holds 26.8%, Andrew
Brown’s Trent Capital has 18.7% and Gowing Bros, the investment group,
owns 19.6%.

The company asked for trading in its shares to be
halted Monday morning promising a statement Monday night. None
eventuated and it was left for the media to ask Lowes about the talks.
Lowes confirmed they had broken down and would not be re-started.

G Retail shares were trading at just 6c before the trading halt.