Godfreys to close all remaining stores, marking end of an era for one-time retail giant

Emilio Prince. Photo: Melinda Jane.
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Australian vacuum retailer Godfreys has officially collapsed less than two months after entering Voluntary Administration, with the final remaining Penrith store set to close imminently.

At the beginning of the year, Godfreys operated 141 stores and employed more than 600 staff members across Australia and New Zealand, with an additional 28 stores run by franchisees.

This number diminished significantly on January 30, when Godfreys Group entered Voluntary Administration, and 54 of those stores would promptly close in the two weeks following.

Though the Nepean Village store was impacted in these closures, the Penrith Mulgoa Road Superstore was left standing.

However, employees of Godfreys were notified on Wednesday that all remaining stores would be closing.

Speaking to the Weekender, Store Manager Emilio Prince said that the closures mark the end of an era.

“Unfortunately, we had some buyers, but they’ve all dropped out last minute, so our creditors told us that unfortunately within the next five to 10 weeks, we will be shut, and unfortunately Godfreys will no longer exist – we’ll be going into liquidation,” he said.

With long personal history with the store, Prince said that he was “devastated”, particularly given that just a few weeks ago he thought that the store would be making its century.

“Hearing this kind of news, it’s come as a shock to all of our team members,” he said.

“We’ve been telling the community today, and they’ve been shocked too. Where are people going to go to buy their vacuums? Yes, you might have the big retailers like Harvey Norman, but what happens when you need to service your machine? Where do you go?”

Though he knows the closure is coming soon, Prince said there are plenty of uncertainties for him and his staff members.

“We don’t know anything as of yet. All they have done is prepared us to look for new jobs,” he said.

“It’s a big thing, and having over 400 employees in Australia and New Zealand look for jobs, especially in this day and age, it’s going to be pretty hard, especially since we specialise in just vacuum care. There’s nowhere to go from there.”

Prince extended a thanks to the local community in Penrith who have supported him and his stores.

“We just want to say on behalf of everyone that worked with us at Godfreys in Penrith, a huge thank you to our entire community for helping us and keeping our business surviving as long as it did,” he said.

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