Coming soon: the biggest pre-Christmas sale Sydney has seen for some time – the liquidation of Gowings as the family of the same name moves to kill-off the retailer it started 137 years ago.
It’s one of the most cynical power plays seen in Sydney for sometime: spin off the underperforming retailing arm you helped ruin with an ill-advised expansion plan in the late 90s and then licence the name to a bunch of untried former fund managers who then expanded even further, only to run out of cash. And then, when the new company holding the licence, G Retail, collapses, pull the rug out from under any attempt by the administrators to keep the stores alive by selling to new owners.
Yesterday, Gowing Bros effectively killed off the retailer. It doesn’t want the retailer to continue and yesterday told the administrators that G Retail could no longer use the Gowings name because of their appointment. That’s the kiss of death because without the name, the administrators have nothing to sell except the unsold stock.
Gowing Bros reportedly met real estate advisers yesterday to discuss the building’s future before telling the administrators that they could not continue to use the licence. The administrators dispute that but say that if they can’t sell the business “quickly,” then “we will be moving into a stock realisation program as quickly as possible.”
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So standby for the biggest pre-Christmas sale, all courtesy of a bunch of dumb fund managers who thought they were businessmen and a very cynical board of Gowing Bros who share much of the responsibility for the retailer’s failure.