Former Myer execs save accessories chain Colette by Colette

Former Myer CEO Bernie Brookes and executive John Skellern have snapped up Colette by Colette, after the retail chain went into administration earlier this year.

Deloitte restructuring services partners Vaughan Strawbridge, Sam Marsden and Jason Tracy were appointed voluntary administrators over fashion accessories retailer CBCH group of companies, trading as Colette by Colette Hayman, on 31 January 2020.

Marsden says the future of the business and close to 300 jobs including 100 permanent roles are now secured with this sale, which is great news for the group.

“The sale of the business to a group of experienced retail investors represents a significant achievement in the current environment and reflects the strength of the brand and the commitment of the group’s employees to its future,” he says.

While the retail chain had 133 stores in Australia and New Zealand at the time it collapsed, the revitalised business will make a comeback with 35 stores across Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia, as well as a strong online platform.

“The new Colette footprint comprises only one-third of the original stores and a fledgling online business, which with dedicated resources and focus will deliver one-third of total revenue,” Brookes said in a statement.

“Owning a fashion retail chain is about true omnichannel retail; a strong online presence and physical stores. Our purchase will enable the business to land in a future post Covid-19 in advance of any cessation of lockdowns and restrictions in the future, and our core offer of handbags and jewellery will continue, with a fresh focus on the strong performing stores retained, and a significant investment in the digital space.”

While several parties submitted offers, Marsden believes the new owners bring with them a significant track record in Australian and international retail and are well positioned to reinvigorate the brand.

“It has been a turbulent journey through the heart of Covid-19, but we have witnessed great resilience and tenacity in the Colette management team and employee base, which will be a great asset to the new owner and a new chapter for Colette by Colette Hayman.”

The successful sale of Colette by Colette follows a number of other businesses sold out of administration including Harris Scarfe, Oroton Group, Sebel Furniture and Howards Storage World.