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March, 2024

Godfreys to close doors after administrators fail to find buyer

Australian retail group, Godfreys, is set to permanently close after administrators failed to secure a buyer for the business.

Administrators from PwC announced on 20 March that no viable offers to take the business forward had been submitted. As a result, a progressive wind-down of Godfreys’ operations in Australia and New Zealand will commence.

A phased closure of all stores will be initiated between now and 31 May 2024, impacting ongoing employment. As of this week, 25 head office staff had been made redundant. Godfreys stores will continue to trade on an interim basis for the clearance of existing stock, after which closures will take effect.

Administrator and PwC Australia Partner Craig Crosbie said while 55 expressions of interest and 6 indicative offers were received during the sale process, these were either since withdrawn or not sufficient in securing the business’ longer-term future.

“This is not the outcome Godfreys had hoped for following a rigorous process to find a purchaser for the business that could keep the store network trading. In the absence of any further bidders coming forward as intermittent trading continues, the process of closing all remaining stores will progress over the next eight weeks.

“We recognise this is a difficult time for staff, franchisees, and other stakeholders, and we will continue to work closely with all parties to ensure they are informed and supported over the coming weeks.”

Franchisees have been informed Godfreys can no longer support them from today. However, franchised stores can continue to trade until 31 March 2024.

Craig Crosbie, Robert Ditrich and Daniel Walley of PwC were appointed Joint and Several Administrators of Godfreys Group Pty Ltd and its seven Australian entities on 30 January 2024. A similar appointment was made over a New Zealand entity, Vacuum Cleaner, which is wholly owned by a Group company, Australian Vacuum Cleaner Co Pty Ltd. John Fisk and Stephen White of PwC New Zealand were appointed Administrators of Vacuum Cleaner Co Ltd.

In early August 2023, PwC was approached by lawyers for the director of secured creditor, 1918 Finance, to provide assistance to the Secured Lender in relation to the Group. In February, PwC announced that as a result of the restructure, 49 retail stores had closed.

Established in 1931, Godfreys is one of the world’s largest vacuum retailers and one of Australia and New Zealand’s leading suppliers of specialty commercial floor care and associated cleaning products. The business operated 141 stores and employed more than 600 staff across Australia and New Zealand, with an additional 28 stores run by franchisees.