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Shoebox closes stores, e-commerce site in liquidation

NSW-based retailer Shoebox has fallen into the hands of liquidators and is being wound up, becoming the latest victim of a wave of consolidation in the beleaguered footwear category.

According to ASIC filings Hatexio Pty Ltd, which traded as Shoebox, fell into the hands of insolvency firm Shaw Gidley last week and has ceased trading.

The retailer’s five stores in Sydney have closed, as well as its online store, which directs visitors to liquidators.

A report publicised by the corporate regulator on Tuesday showed that Hatexio owed $3.32 million to unsecured creditors, including $2.17 million in loans to family members associated with the business and $1.15 million to suppliers and landlords.

The business closed with $8,500 in cash, while $50,000 was expected to be realised from the sale of inventory and equipment.

Liquidators were unavailable for comment on Tuesday evening, but the collapse is just the latest in a lengthening line of consolidation in the footwear category in recent years, following the administration of Payless Shoes in late 2016 and Diana Ferrari’s decision earlier this year to close all its stores.

Industry wholesalers have also been hit, with $10 million footwear brand Cadet Shoes collapsing in January.

Consolidation in the sector follows months of subdued trading as cost of living pressures continue to weigh on households.

Clothing, footwear and personal accessories turnover increased by just 1.5 per cent in 2017, less than half the ten-year average annual growth rate of 3.5 per cent, according to ABS data.

Turnover declined 0.1 per cent month-on-month in March, growing 3.9 per cent year-on-year.

Analysts have warned that there will be more retail death in the coming months as traders come to terms with end of financial year obligations after a difficult start to winter trading.

Jirsch Sutherland Partner Amanda Young said that the number of retail trade companies entering external administration in January and February was 20 per cent higher than last year.

“Common factors that may cause financial distress for a retailer include a lack of systems and processes, no track record, an absence of effective marketing, market saturation, and location – or lack thereof,” said Young.

Outside of footwear the likes of Toys ‘R’ Us Australia, which fell into administration on Monday, and General Pants owned fashion business Metalicus are notable recent casualties.

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