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Enquiries received for collapsed homewares retailer

Preliminary enquiries to acquire collapsed homewares retailer Moss River have already been received less than a day after it was announced the company had fallen into administration.

Financial services firm BDO made news of a forthcoming expression of interest campaign to acquire the business on Tuesday morning and has yet to formally begin advertising the business, but expects further interest after already receiving several enquiries.

Potential purchasers will have until October 3 to lodge interest in the company’s national network of eight stores.

Moss River has stores in Victoria, NSW and Queensland, as well as an online store, employing approximately 40 people.

Administrators Andrew Sallway and James White have already moved to close three of the retailer’s stores, having held an initial creditor meeting last Thursday.

Sallway said initial indications are that creditors number 65 and are owed a total of $2.6 million.

“So far most of the creditors have been supportive and have assisted with the administration process where possible,” Sallway told Internet Retailing’s sister site, Inside Retail, on Tuesday.

“As with all insolvency appointments, it is frustrating for small creditors whom are more heavily impacted by an insolvency appointment.”

Moss River is the latest in a lengthening line of national retail businesses which have collapsed in the last twelve months, including Marcs, David Lawrence, Herringbone, Rhodes & Beckett, Payless shoes, Pumpkin Patch and more recently Surfstitch.

Sallway said the primary factors that led the business into its current predicament were similar to those that have led to other collapses.

“Downturn in the retail industry and high rent costs appear to be the primary drivers of the appointment,” he said.

Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman said the administration is a concern for the broader retail sector, particularly mid-sized traders which appear to be finding it more difficult to square current retail conditions.

“It’s a concern and we’re always disappointed by news of another retailer in trouble,” he said.

“We’re seeing too many of these and it’s a concern to the industry … unfortunately no retailer is immune, we’re seeing a lot of troubles in that mid-sized retailer.”

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