Jeanswest in Australia enters administration

Jeanswest’s Australia arm is the latest retailer to enter voluntary administration.

The casual and maternity clothing company, founded by flamboyant Perth businessman Alistair Norwood in 1972, employs 988 staff and operates out of 146 stores nationally.

In 2017 Jeanswest’s local division was acquired by a private Hong Kong company, Howsea Limited, which notes Charles Yeung as chairman and Yeung Chun Fan as his vice.

The sale price was reported to be $A41 million (which factored in a $14 million before tax loss for the 2016 financial year).

The vendor, Glorious Sun Group, controlled the brand from 1994, expanding it into China, Indonesia, New Zealand, Russia and Vietnam.

The company’s umbrella of retailers also includes Quiksilver Glorious Sun, Rand Design and Roxy.

Coincidentally, Glorious Sun is an active Melbourne office investor, in early September, 2018, paying $9.6 million for an investment within the Tally Ho business park, in Burwood, then a week later outlaying $18.4 million for 255 Whitehorse Road, Balwyn.

Jeanswest Australia’s short term prospects

KPMG administrators Peter Gothard and James Stewart said he is considering all options for a restructure or sale – but that the business will continue to operate throughout the process.

Urgent expressions of interest are being sought from parties interested in acquiring or investing in the business, the pair added.

The words echo those made by administrators appointed to sell the Bardot business which entered voluntary administration early last month.

When a buyer couldn’t be found, last week it was decided to shut all of that retailer’s stores – a move affecting 530 staff and 58 landlords.

In 2018, all 57 Roger David outlets closed down when a buyer for the business couldn’t be found.

The first meeting of creditors for Jeanswest Corporation Pty Ltd is set to take place in Melbourne on January 28.

Australian retailers falling like dominoes

Th final section in our December story, here, about Harris Scarfe entering administration details many of the Australian retailers to recently fall. (administrators subsequently decided to close 21 of that company’s 66 stores).

Last week, Curious Planet, owned by the Co-Op Bookshop which entered voluntary administration seven weeks ago, announced it would shut 63 shops.

Target, Big W and EB Games all announced plans to shrink store networks last year.

Even Red Rooster was affected, one of its franchisees shutting seven Queensland restaurants late last October.

Build-a-bear, Debenhams, Dimmeys, Focus Group, McWilliams Wines and Sunstate Foods also flunk, last year.

It follows, in 2008, Aussie Farmers Direct, NQR, Maggie T, Outdoor Furniture Specialists, Tasman Butchers and Zumbo, amongst others.

…and nobody who follows the industrial market should be surprised

The Jeanswest news coincides with a stark rise in demand for warehousing and distribution industrial property across Australia’s major cities in recent years.

Amazon is perhaps the highest profile occupier to expand here, committing to open in Melbourne’s Dandenong South in 2017, then later in Sydney. has since reported several more distribution centre leases, for areas between 6000-20,000 sqm – many to first time Australian providers.

These industrial facilities service the booming online retail trade – which is increasingly replacing the traditional bricks and mortar model globally.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of