Aussie sportswear icon faces bankruptcy
Yet another iconic Australian fashion brand has fallen victim to the ailing retail sector, with sportswear manufacturer Skins on the brink of collapse.
The company has applied for bankruptcy in a Swiss Court, with chairman Jaimie Fuller confirming the news and revealing his devastation in a lengthy public statement.
"A Trustee will be appointed to assume responsibility for the company with almost immediate effect," Mr Fuller wrote on the company's website last week.
"My management team and I have left no stone unturned in an effort to avoid this. I apologise unreservedly to all those affected by it.
"I am enormously regretful and sad that it has got to this point. Even as late as yesterday, it looked like there was an option for avoiding this action but events conspired against us and left us with no option at all."
Mr Fuller explained the brand would change ownership but would not "disappear", and that Skins customers would still be able to buy products.
The company was founded in 1996 by ski fan Brad Duffy, but was bought into by Mr Fuller in 2002.
He said, while there had been "many contributing factors as well as mistakes I've made along the way", one of the biggest catalysts had been the GFC.
"What has brought us to this point really started 11 years ago. When the global financial crisis (GFC) hit in 2008, I sold a portion of Skins to a private equity firm. I also made a lousy deal," he said.
"When the GFC was over, I had to get out of the private equity arrangement. To do so, we borrowed heavily, and with the help of a Japanese partner we managed to buy out the private equity shareholders.
"To my enormous regret, those borrowings have become unsustainable and while we have been working for some time now to try to avoid what is happening today, in the end there was no choice."
It follows last week's announcement that Aussie menswear retailer Ed Harry had gone into voluntary administration.
In the short-term the South Australia-based business will immediately embark on a clearance sale of existing merchandise to maximise options for the business.
Administrator KPMG said Ed Harry gift cards will be honoured for one month on a dollar-for-dollar basis only.
But they are just two of dozens of Australian retailers to have pulled up stumps recently.
Plus-size womenswear brand Maggie T became the first high-profile Australian retailer to enter administration in 2018 after announcing it would close in early January.
Not long after, Australian footwear, clothing and accessories label Diana Ferrari revealed "at least four" of its 17 retail stores would be rebranded with the rest to close, and six clearance outlets to remain open.
In the same month, outdoor adventure gear company Mountain Designs made the "difficult decision" to close one in three stores in 2018.
Shops at Joondalup, Wagga Wagga, Toowong and Dubbo closed on January 7 followed by branches at Cannington, Bendigo, Toowoomba and Wollongong on January 10, with others at Pacific Fair, Ashmore, Bunbury, Moorabbin and Warringah also shutting.
Next came Gap, which quietly bowed out of the Australian market in early February.
The US fashion giant was brought to Australia by luxury goods retailer Oroton - which narrowly avoided its own collapse late last year.
Soon after, cosmetics brand Avon announced it would depart from Australia and New Zealand "by the end of 2018", leaving the company's 220 staff and more than 21,400 representatives facing an uncertain future.
In early May, fashion retailer Esprit revealed it would close all 67 of its loss-making Australia and New Zealand stores as the Hong Kong-listed company shifted its focus to more profitable regions.
Toy giant Toys 'R' Us finally closed down for good on August 5 after going into voluntary administration in May.
In July, administrators revealed all Toys 'R' Us and Babies 'R' Us stores across the country would fold, with around 700 jobs lost.
The announcement followed the failure of Toys 'R' Us in the US in March.
Other big names that folded last year include Shoes of Prey, Max Brenner, Roger David and Laura Ashley.