The Business Herald’s markets and banking reporter.

The last days of Dick Smith

Dick Smith has 55 outlets still trading in New Zealand and the first of those to open - Pukekohe - will shut down today. Photo / Bay of Plenty Times
Dick Smith has 55 outlets still trading in New Zealand and the first of those to open - Pukekohe - will shut down today. Photo / Bay of Plenty Times

One of New Zealand's best known retail chains is marching ever closer to oblivion, with all of Dick Smith's local outlets set to be closed by April 29.

Receivers Ferrier Hodgson, who took control of the business after it collapsed in January, released the final store closure dates this afternoon.

According to the statement, Dick Smith has 55 outlets still trading in New Zealand and Pukekohe will be the first of those to close today.

The remaining outlets will close by the end of next week.

Dick Smith's central Auckland and Newmarket stores will be some of the last to close on April 29, while the last of the Aussie stores will stop trading on May 3.

Desolate scenes have been reported at Dick Smith stores across Australasia as the chain enters its final days.

Even store fixtures such as security gates have been available for sale at the Queen St store.

Ferrier Hodgson announced in February that it had failed to find a buyer for the chain and Dick Smith, which went into receivership owing around A$390 million to creditors, would close all of its roughly 360 outlets on both sides of the Tasman.

The closure affected 2890 Dick Smith staff, including 430 in New Zealand.

Receiver James Stewart said today that he would like to thank Dick Smith employees for their support.

"This has been a difficult and uncertain time for them and we have really appreciated their assistance and commitment," he said.

Ferrier Hodgson said payment of employee entitlements including annual and long-service leave was expected to be completed by June.

The receivership came after Dick Smith abandoned its profit forecast in December amid a sales slump that left the firm with high levels of excess stock, which had to be heavily discounted in the lead-up to Christmas.

The collapse sparked debate about the complex financial engineering used by private equity firms like Anchorage Capital, which in 2012 acquired Dick Smith for around A$100 million from supermarket operator Woolworths.

Anchorage floated the retailer on the Australian stock exchange the following year with a market value of more than A$500 million.

The Dick Smith brand may live on, however, after Australian e-commerce entrepreneur Ruslan Kogan purchased the intellectual property rights last month.

Kogan wants to re-open Dick Smith as an online-only retailer, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

- NZ Herald

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