Beauty and personal-care retailer Pricewise has been placed in receivership with trade debts in excess of $1 million.
The 16-store chain, and its affiliated distribution company Zenith, are now trading under the direction of receivers Khov Jones.
Director Steven Khov said he was appointed by shareholder Colin Neal of Polar Capital after a disagreement between Polar and Pricewise’s founders Andrew and Gill Berryman over the way the business was being managed.
Khov told Inside Retail the businesses owe money to a range of secured creditors, suppliers and landlords, and holiday pay was due to staff.
Pricewise, which turns over around $12 million annually, has seven stores in Auckland, five elsewhere in the North Island and four in the South Island.
The stores are continuing to trade in receivership for the time being and 116 staff, including part time and casual workers, remain on board while expressions of interest are sought for buying the business.
Khov said initial interest has been expressed by “a number of parties”. Asked if he considered the company a viable business moving forward, he said that would depend on who the purchaser is (if any) and how they decide to structure and run the business.
The appointment of receivers was a fractious affair, with the Berrymans’ appointment terminated with immediate effect last week and their reaction to the receivership described as “hostile”.
“They were removed from the business on Friday with the assistance of the appropriate authorities,” said Khov.
He added that while the Covid-19-related lockdowns had impacted the Pricewise and Zenith businesses, that was not what led to the receivership.
“When you’ve got a business that has 16 stores nationwide you’ve got to be pretty-hands on to make sure that it works,” he said.