19 May 2010

Shock announcement: Not so easy - Clive Peeters brings in administrators in crisis move

Refrigerators for sale in unidentified shop

Clive Peeters' website says the whitegoods
retailer employs more than 1,300 staff.

The directors of whitegoods retailer Clive Peeters have appointed McGrathNicol as voluntary administrators.

The company's ASX code 'CPR' seems ironically appropriate as the administrators attempt to resuscitate the ailing enterprise.

In a statement to the ASX, the company's administrators say they are conducting an "urgent appraisal of the company's affairs" to see whether the business can be preserved or sold.

"It is hoped that the business can be stabilised and can continue to trade in one form or another beyond this administration," said Colin Nicol, one of the administrators appointed.

"In the circumstances, this would represent the best outcome for all parties."

Clive Peeters shares have been suspended from official quotation on the ASX.

The retailer, which has stores in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania (as well as Western Australia trading under the name Rick Hart), has been a victim of the slowdown in retail sales, as well as a $19.4 million fraud by one of its employees.

Back in September 2009, shortly after the fraud had been discovered, the company's managing director Greg Smith had told investors he was confident Clive Peeters would recover.

In late 2008, before the discovery of the fraud and during the peak of the financial crisis, Mr Smith said:

"All the good retailers will survive the cycle and come through."

"But along the way you can expect some retailers to just find it too hard - some of the smaller retailers perhaps."

The Clive Peeters website says the group has 49 stores and employs more than 1,300 staff.

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