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Harris Scarfe Reports Increase In Sales, Refuses To Share Financials

Collapsed department store Harris Scarfe has reportedly experienced a spike in sales over the Christmas and New Year period.

That’s according to The Australian, which exclusively revealed the chain saw the holiday period over December and January hike up sales while the embattled, twice-sold chain is still under bidding from four potential buyers.

‘Having closed around 20 stores, and created what can be a profitable business, the Receivers are now awaiting indicative bids from a short-listed group of four parties that have expressed an interest in buying the business,’ a spokesperson for the Receivers told ChannelNews.

‘The deadline for lodging bids is currently 14 February.’

But Deloitte are keeping their lips shut when asked about specific details, such as financial reports from that period.

(Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA)

ChannelNews reached out to a Deloitte financial officer and requested financial statements from this period, only to be told that ‘receivers aren’t disclosing financials, particularly while they are in the middle of a business sale process.’

It then, therefore, makes it difficult to pin point exactly how well the embattled chain performed during the holiday period, or if it is just an attempt to bolster a positive presence to seduce potential bidders.

Harris Scarfe has shut down around a third of its national store network since it went into voluntary administration last December, in a row of national closures from many once-successful retailers, including EB Games and Bose.

The final bids for the chain need to be lodged before the 14 February deadline, but the voluntary administrator is considering pushing that date back after requests for further information and to give bidders more flexibility.

Deloitte Restructuring Services opened discussions with over 20 interested buyers after the store collapsed two weeks before Christmas but has now narrowed it down to four bidders, who are showing the most interest.

(AAP Image/Kelly Barnes)

‘We are working with those parties as they have queries in the data room, so we are still looking for the 14th (for final bids) but I think in reality we might need more time,’ Strawbridge told The Australian.

‘There is a lot of activity and I think for people to put in the best offers they can, final offers, I think they probably will need extra time and we are working through that.’

If Harris Scarfe finds a new owner, it will be its second financial resuscitation. It was placed in receivership in 2001 owing $91 million to creditors and $50 million in company debt.

Harris Scarfe was then restructured and purchased by Steinhoff International, which has experienced its own financial woes, before being sold off to private equity firm Allegro Funds just nine days before the firm put it into voluntary administration.

Deloitte failed to comment for this story.

(AAP Image/Kelly Barnes)

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