Dick Smith closes concessions

Dick Smith will close every one of its concessions in David Jones department stores next week as the receivers seek a buyer for the ailing electrical retailer.

As many as 181 employees could lose their jobs after receiver Ferrier Hodgson announced the closure of 27 concessions across Australia.

Ferrier Hodgson called the closure a “necessary step” toward a restructuring that it hopes will help attract a buyer for the business.

The concessions will cease trading by close of business on Wednesday.

“Dick Smith is working to identify opportunities for future employment for as many of the affected staff as possible through the Dick Smith network,” Ferrier Hodgson said in a statement on Friday.

A total of 181 employees will be affected, 78 of them part-time and 101 casual. Only two are full-time employees.

Ferrier Hodgson said Dick Smith and David Jones had mutually agreed to the terms of the termination of a partnership that only began in 2013.

Dick Smith went into receivership this month with debts of about $400 million.

Administrator McGrathNicol told last week’s creditors’ meeting it has estimated employee liabilities of about $15 million, which includes long-service leave and accrued holiday pay but not any potential redundancy payments.

McGrathNicol’s Joe Hayes said Dick Smith’s 3,300 or so employees would be covered by the federal government’s Fair Entitlements Guarantee Scheme if they were left short.

The administrators confirmed on Thursday that they will file a court application next week seeking more time to investigate Dick Smith’s downfall, giving them until August 2 to convene a second creditors’ meeting.

Customers who had bought gift cards or placed deposits on goods are on a lengthy list of unsecured creditors owed $250 million, with secured creditors owed another $140 million.


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