John Cootes Furniture in Wagga is set to close late September or early October this year as part of the chain’s closure of all its stores.
After more than 35 years of trading, JCF will close all of its 12 stores, in NSW and the ACT, resulting in around 135 staff losing their jobs.
A statement made by Elanor Investors Group, which acquired JCF in 2014, to the Australian Stock Exchange on Monday states that the decision to close came after the “deteriorating trading performance of JCF over the past year”.
“In particular, during the six months ended 30 June 2018, reflecting a significant increase in the competitive environment for furniture retailing in NSW...particularly in which JCF trades,” the statement reads.
Glenn Willis, managing director and CEO of EIG, said the Wagga store has four employees: one manager, one permanent full-timer and two casuals.
The ASX statement reads that EIG would commit to delivering full entitlements, redundancy payments and an ex-gratia payment to the 90 full-time and 45 part-time and casual employees.
Asked if there were any Wagga- or Riverina-specific market conditions that affected the Wagga site, Mr Willis said it was the industry-wide competition.
“Over the past four years, we have grown the John Cootes Furniture business from three to 12 stores,” Mr Willis said.
“[But] the market conditions of the sector have become highly competitive and this heightened competition adversely affected profitability,” Mr Willis said.
“The significant increase in the competitive environment, combined with softer retail-market conditions, has resulted in our decision to close the business.”
The market conditions of the sector has become highly competitive and this heightened competition adversely affected profitability.Glenn Willis, managing director and CEO of Elanor Investors Group
A strategic review completed on June 25 this year by EIG considered a number of options, which included seeking interest for sale of the business.
“After a comprehensive review of the business, including the consideration of numerous sale options (that have not eventuated), we have, unfortunately, decided to undertake an orderly closure of the business,” Mr Willis said.
“No firm proposals have been received to date,” the company said in the ASX statement.
JCF’s other stores are in Merrylands, Penrith, Tuggerah, Prospect, Newcastle, Auburn, Campbelltown, Canberra, Bathurst, Taree and Rutherford.
It is expected that all JCF stores will be closed by the end of the calendar year.
EIG is expected to announce its financial results for the year ended June 30, 2018, on Monday, August 20.
JCF opened its first store in Sydney in the early 1980s.