Corazon Miller is a NZ Herald reporter

Bust bridal shop leaves 45 in the lurch

Liquidator flooded with calls from anxious women waiting for dresses.

At least 45 women preparing to get married have been left in the lurch by a bridal boutique going bust.

Primrose & Finch, which operated stores in Auckland and Melbourne, has gone into liquidation, as its owners left for Britain - seemingly without so much as a word of warning to its clientele.

Bryan Williams, of BWA Insolvency, said he'd been flooded with calls from brides-to-be yesterday.

He said "at least 45" would-be brides had paid a deposit and were without a dress.

Williams, appointed liquidator on the failed company on Wednesday, said women in Australia were affected by the boutique's closure as well.

"I am surprised," he said. "It's far more complex than the directors had led me to believe."

He said directors Kerry and Matthew Smith indicated the liquidation had come about as a result of problems with its Melbourne business.

However, a former contractor who worked as a seamstress for the Australian store, Jayne Coney, told the Herald that as far as she knew business had been going strong.

"He told me it hadn't been a good season, which is rubbish because we'd been selling dresses like crazy, making a lot of money," she said. "But apparently in New Zealand it had been a bad season."

Email correspondence given to the Weekend Herald indicated financial troubles were used as an explanation to staff for their unpaid wages.

"This has been the hardest wedding season by far, and we have learned a lot of valuable lessons," one email said. The firm was trying to "juggle cash".

Coney stopped working for the company in Easter.

According to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission site Primrose & Finch Limited was registered in the country on June 11, 2015, and despite the store's closure, less than a year after it opened, the company remains on the register.

Williams initially thought the Melbourne store had closed in May, but has since heard another employee might have been hired in June.

"It's concerning, if they knowingly took transactions and knew they weren't going to be able to deliver."

Williams said the liquidation process was a complicated matter that could take weeks.

Bride-to-be: I'm disgusted she took my money

An Auckland woman who paid over $2000 for her wedding outfit is "disgusted" the owners of a bridal shop seemingly skipped the country leaving women without their special dress.

Leanne Watson, 33, and partner Mark Rogers, 34, were shocked to find themselves out of pocket by the sudden closure of Primrose & Finch in Newmarket.

Watson had been into the Khyber Pass Rd boutique just last month to be measured and buy a headpiece, veil and shoes for the couple's January wedding.

"I had no inkling at all," she said. "It's put a whole damper on the wedding ... It's really sad, but I guess I'm lucky I've got time."

Her fiance was equally upset.

"It's distressing, there's not a lot I can do about it," Rogers said. " I realise that unsecured creditors don't stand any chance of getting back the money."

Watson estimated more than $2400 had been paid to Primrose & Finch to cover the deposit on her gown and full payment for her veil, shoes and a headpiece. "It's a decent amount when you don't have a very big budget to begin with."

She has contacted company directors Kerry and Matthew Smith but has had no response.

"I suspected she knew this was on the cards, so I'm pretty disgusted she took my money."

Dress designer Johanna Hehir had offered to still make the gown - minus the cost of the deposit.

"She's probably going to be making dresses at a loss," Watson said. "For her to say she'll help out, she has a real heart."

Hehir said Watson was one of nine brides she knew of who'd made an order through Primrose & Finch. She urged any others to contact her.

"I'll help, because obviously it's an emotional time and I don't want to see brides upset," she said. " I'll lose a bit in time, but I'm happy to make sure the brides are okay."

Hehir is one of at least four designers caught by the company's liquidation. Others include Katya Katya Shehurina, Claire Pettibone and Charlie Brear.

- NZ Herald

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