Corazon Miller is a NZ Herald reporter

Liquidators Report: Primrose & Finch owe more than $300,000

Primrose & Finch Limited, which operated stores in both Auckland and Melbourne, went into liquidation on Wednesday last week. Photo / Supplied
Primrose & Finch Limited, which operated stores in both Auckland and Melbourne, went into liquidation on Wednesday last week. Photo / Supplied

The owners of a bridal boutique who shut up shop, before leaving the country, have left 63 brides without a dress and amassed more than $300,000 in debt.

Primrose & Finch Limited, which operated stores in both Auckland and Melbourne, went into liquidation on Wednesday last week - without so much as a word of warning to its clientele.

The owners, Matthew and Kerry Smith are believed to have moved back to the UK, where they are originally from.

In its statement of affairs, released in the liquidator's report this evening, the total estimated deficiency of the company is -$319,108.16.

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Among its debts is an estimated $7,707.07 owed to former employees, $16,000 to the Inland Revenue Department and more than $150,000 to customers and other unsecured creditors.

In terms of assets there is an estimated $5000 of unclaimed inventory and $750 worth of office equipment and store fitouts.

The company's liquidator, Bryan Williams, said in total 63 Kiwi and Australian brides, ten designers, some former employees, landlords and other third party providers had been caught up in the company's liquidation.

However, he expected most brides would get what they'd paid for.

"There is a risk that some will not, though I'm not sure how many this will be."

Williams said the next step was to put the brides and designers together.

"In some cases that process has already been actioned by the designers themselves," he said. "We will look to facilitate whatever we can do to bring that outcome about."

Williams said while the level of financial debt wasn't among the largest he'd come across the directors' activities were reckless.

He planned to do a "thorough investigation" to trace where the money had come from and where it had gone over the past couple of years.

He also intended to file a report under section 258A (duty to report suspected offences), of the Companies Act 1993 which would make the owners "candidates" to banned from owning another company.

While the liquidator wasn't clear of the implications this would have for the couple in the United Kingdom, he believed it would make things "difficult" for them to set up shop in Australia again.

Williams said the Smith's downfall would have been secured through the failure of their Melbourne store.

"...the decision to extend operations in Australia was a mistake of fatal consequences given their limited economic capability."

Several attempts to contact the Smiths have been unsuccessful and Williams said it was unlikely the couple would engage with the media.

- NZ Herald

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