The Outdoor Furniture Specialists Go Into Voluntary Administration

Bricks and mortar retailer The Outdoor Furniture Specialists has followed in the footsteps of other homegrown brands such as Maggie T and Diana Ferrari – announcing that it will be entering into voluntary administration.

The company overseeing The Outdoor Furniture Specialists chain has gone into voluntary administration amid increasingly challenging times for the retail sector as online competition escalates and more international entrants shore up.

The Brisbane-based firm is the head franchisor for 46 stores in Australia and claims to be the largest specialist outdoor furniture retailer in the country. The company was incorporated in 1990 and is based in Kedron, Australia.

Sydney-based insolvency specialists Anthony Elkerton and Justin Holzman were appointed joint and several voluntary administrators of the company last week.

Although The Outdoor Furniture Specialists has a website, it doesn’t have an online store and has traded as purely bricks and mortar. The collapse is an example of the importance of staying relevant in an increasingly digital world, with Australian consumers increasingly shifting their shopping habits online.

E-commerce growth in Australia is showing no signs of slowing down. According to the latest NAB Online Retail Sales Index, Australians spent an estimated $24 billion on online retail over a 12-month period to November 2017, with 14.4 percent year-on-year growth.

In addition to lacking an e-commerce presence, being a franchised retail brand poses a real challenge when it comes to e-commerce trading, according to Andrew Spring, partner of insolvency firm Jirsch Sutherland, who expects that we will see more insolvencies with franchise retail brands.

“The retail sector is really struggling. In the last six months we’ve seen a number of high profile brands collapse – painting a gloomy picture for Australian retailers. But the franchise sector has additional pressures,” says Spring.

“This coupled with the difficulties associated with an already challenging retail environment is likely to continue to mean that we will see further insolvencies in the franchising sector.”

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