Iconic vacuum retailer on brink of collapse

Godfreys has entered Voluntary Administration.
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Stores will be closed and jobs lost as vacuum retailer Godfreys Group enters Voluntary Administration.

The future of the company, which is more than 90-years-old, now hangs in the balance.

Established in 1931, Godfreys is one of the world’s largest vacuum retailers and one of Australia and New Zealand’s leading suppliers of specialty commercial floor care and associated cleaning products.

The business operates 141 stores and employs more than 600 staff across Australia and New Zealand, with an additional 28 stores run by franchisees.

It is anticipated that 54 of those stores will be closed within the next 14 days, affecting the employment of approximately 193 staff, 171 in Australia and 22 in New Zealand.

There are two Godfreys stores in Penrith. It is not known if the Penrith stores are among the 54 to immediately close.

Craig Crosbie, Robert Ditrich and Daniel Walley of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Australia have been appointed as Voluntary Administrators of the Australian entities. John Fisk and Stephen White of PwC New Zealand have been appointed Voluntary Administrators over the New Zealand subsidiary (see Appendix A).

The Administrators will continue to trade the Godfreys business while undertaking an immediate operational restructure and sale process.

“Like many retailers, Godfreys has faced a challenging economic and operating environment. Lower customer demand amid cost of living pressures, higher operating costs, and increased competition have all taken a toll on profitability, with some stores more impacted than others,” Crosbie said.

“Our aim is to move quickly to restructure Godfreys to preserve as much of the business and as many jobs as possible. We intend to trade the restructured store network and sell the business and assets as a going concern, with strong interest expected from prospective buyers.

“We will continue to work closely with Godfreys’ director, management, and creditors, including staff whose employment is unfortunately impacted by store closures.

Godfreys’ director, Grant Hancock, said: “While the decision to appoint Administrators was difficult, it was made with the best interests of Godfreys’ employees, customers and broader stakeholders in mind.”

The first meeting of creditors will be held on Friday, February 9.

Troy Dodds

Troy Dodds is the Weekender's Managing Editor and Breaking News Reporter. He has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia's leading media organisations. In 2023, he was named Editor of the Year at the Mumbrella Publish Awards.

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