Fashion brand Bardot turns to KPMG for administration

04 December 2019 3 min. read
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Melbourne-based fashion apparel brand Bardot has become the latest Australian retailer to enter administration, with KPMG called in to support with the process. The move comes after poor performance of the company’s brick and mortar outlets, despite promising activity in other segments.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that KPMG is set to oversee a comprehensive restructuring operation at Bardot, which – according to KPMG Restructuring Services Partner Brendan Richards – will be followed by the identification of “possible re-deployment opportunities.” The fashion apparel brand’s creditors will meet on the 10th of December to discuss the way forward.

Bardot is a well-established brand in the Australian market, having been operational since 1996. The company was set up as a women’s fashion brand, and has since expanded to operate out of more than 100 stores across the country. The brand has recently expanded into the US and Europe.

Despite boasting a worldwide operation, Bardot is suffering from the same issue as most retailers in Australia; a spending crunch. Australian consumers have kept their cash close over the last year, leading the retail sector to broadly suffer considerable declines in sales. Deloitte recently reported that few retailers are even expecting an increase in sales around the festive season.

Fashion brand Bardot turns to KPMG for administration

Another factor that Bardot has in common with most incumbent peers is that brick and mortar sales are under pressure. While the company does have an online channel, its omnichannel approach has so far not been capable of bringing the retailer back into black numbers. Bardot joins a growing list of fashion brands that are facing troubled waters in Australia, including Karen Millen, Ed Harry and Roger David.

A similar picture can be painted outside of the fashion sector. KPMG is also currently in the process of managing administration for online furniture retailer Zanui, while the Co-op Bookshop recently appointed PwC executives to support with a restructuring operation.

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Bardot CEO Basil Artemides attributed the situation to market conditions, stating “Despite double-digit growth in online sales, and our highly successful expansion into the US and Europe, Bardot’s retail stores in Australia are competing in a highly cluttered, and increasingly discount-driven market.”

“We acknowledge the potential impact that these changes may have on our team members and remain committed to open and timely communication with our stakeholders as KPMG undertakes its assessment,” he added.

Brendan Richards of KMPG stated, “Bardot is an iconic Australian womenswear brand with a rich history of over 20 years of growth. In the last five years, the business has grown significantly offshore and capitalised on its Australian heritage by distributing through high-profile international department stores.”