Jeanswest saved from brink of ruin
Denim empire Jeanswest has been saved from collapse following a last-minute sale of the iconic Aussie company.
Last month, it was revealed the fashion chain had entered voluntary administration, with KPMG's Peter Gothard and James Stewart taking over as the business sought to "restructure".
Today, it was announced a buyer had been found with a sale of contract signed yesterday with Harbour Guidance Pty Ltd.
It is an Australian subsidiary of Harbour Guide Ltd, a Hong Kong company owned by Mr Chun Fan Yeung and his family interests.
Mr Yeung is a minority shareholder in Howsea Ltd, the previous parent company of Jeanswest.
The sale is expected to be completed by mid-March and will include up to 106 stores.
In a statement, KPMG confirmed the sale would likely save up to 680 jobs, and that the sale was conditional on landlords agreeing to revised lease terms with Harbour Guidance.
KPMG restructuring partner James Stewart said the sale was good news for the business, employees and consumers.
"This is a great result for all parties," Mr Stewart said.
"Retail is a people business and the administrators greatly appreciate the resilience of the Jeanswest staff through the administration process."
Harbour Guidance managing director George Yeung said it marked a fresh start for the brand.
"The acquisition of Jeanswest business will present an opportunity to rejuvenate this iconic brand well known to the Australian community," he said.
"We are committed to continue servicing Australian communities and grow the Jeanswest brand organically through an omnichannel service offering."
The much-loved Australian retail brand opened its first store in Perth in Western Australia in 1972 thanks to founder and denim king Alister Norwood, and today the business employs 988 people in 146 stores across the country.
It is best known for its popular denim range as well as maternity wear and other wardrobe staples as well as the slogan "Jeanswest fits best".
It is understood Jeanswest's operations outside of Australia are not impacted by the administration process.
In January, KPMG announced that as part of the Jeanswest restructure, 37 stores would be closed and 263 employees would be made redundant. It is understood these stores could not be saved as part of the sale and will still be shut down.
KPMG confirmed Jeanswest stores in Blacktown, Castle Towers, Charlestown, East Gardens,Lismore, Macarthur, Kotara, Wetherill Park, Tweed City, Shell Harbour, Singleton and Miranda in NSW would close, along with outlets in Burleigh, Castletown, Chermside, Earlville, Myer Centre and Maroochydore in Queensland.
In WA, outlets in Mirabooka, Carousel, Centrepoint, Karrinyup, Mandurah and Rockingham will close as well as Marion, Castle Plaza and West Lakes in South Australia and Hobart City in Tasmania.
Meanwhile, Victorian stores in Doncaster, Eastland, Echuca, Forest Hill, Karingal, Southland, The District Docklands and Watergardens will also shut their doors.