Job losses as clothing shop closes doors

By John Maslin

2 comments
Pumpkin Patch in Victoria Ave is closing next week with the parent company in receivership. Photo/Bevan Conley.
Pumpkin Patch in Victoria Ave is closing next week with the parent company in receivership. Photo/Bevan Conley.

Whanganui's Pumpkin Patch store will close its doors next Tuesday meaning job losses for the five staff employed there.

The Victoria Ave store is one of seven being shut immediately across the country in the wake of the children's clothing retailer going into receivership.

The company said closing those stores would mean a total of 57 staff would lose their jobs including five employed in Whanganui.

Brendon Gibson of the receivers KordaMentha, said the closure of some stores was being accelerated to keep the retailer operating as they hunt for a buyer.

Pumpkin Patch employs 600 in New Zealand and 1000 in Australia. The Australian operation was still under review and no closures had been confirmed there.

KordaMentha was named receivers by company's lender - ANZ Bank New Zealand - last week after Pumpkin Patch failed to convince the bank to let it keep trading, and immediately signalled store closures and job losses were likely.

Yesterday Mr Gibson said as well as the Whanganui outlet other stores would close in Ponsonby, Takapuna, Henderson, Te Rapa, Hornby and a Charlie's & Me site at Coastlands.

"Unfortunately, having now had time to assess these stores' financial viability, it is necessary to close them in an effort to stabilise the broader business" Mr Gibson said in a statement.

He said staff had been told they were losing their jobs but would be paid all their entitlements to a maximum of $22,160 (gross) per employee. They have also been given access to EAP (employee assistance programme) support services.

Pumpkin Patch's debt to ANZ Bank rose to $46 million from $39.1 million in the year to the end of July 2016. It posted a loss of $15.5 million in the same period.

Last year the retailer turned away a number of parties interested in buying the business, saying at the time that the offers weren't compelling enough for the board to consider seriously. Instead, it tried to lift its trading performance in a four-year turnaround programme, which it claimed was starting to show improvements.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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