McGrathNicol finds a buyer for Kiwi footwear brand Bobux

21 May 2023 2 min. read

Beloved children’s footwear brand Bobux has been bought out of receivership by Munro Footwear Group.

The New Zealand-based retailer was placed into receivership on April 11, 2023 at the request of the shareholders.

Founded over three decades ago by husband-and-wife Chris and Colleen Bennett, Bobux provides high-quality shoes, boots and sandals for toddlers and kids in 40+ countries. While the company generated about $NZ20 million in sales last year, Bobux suffered financial losses from a dip in demand and supply chain disruptions caused by Covid-19, and overspending on an IT system.

McGrathNicol finds a buyer for Kiwi footwear brand Bobux

As a result of these pressures, Bobux was unable to secure ongoing funding. Main creditor Bank of New Zealand moved quick, appointing Conor McElhinney and Andrew Grenfell of McGrathNicol as receivers and managers. During the receivership, the company traded as normal, while liquidators worked to sell off its remaining stock.

“This is a tragic outcome for our staff, suppliers and customers after putting our hearts and souls into the business for 30 years. Our sincere hope is that a buyer can be found to take Bobux forward,” said Chris Bennett shortly after Bobux went bust.

Fast forward one month, and Bobux has been ‘saved’ from its downfall, with the company snapped up for an undisclosed sum by Munro Footwear Group.

With more than 290 stores and 2,500 employees nationally, Munro Footwear Group is one of Australia's leading retailer and wholesaler of fashion and comfort footwear. The group owns brands such as Colorado, Ziera, I Love Billy, Mollini, and Diana Ferrari as well as retail entities Williams, Mathers and Midas. Bobux is its first children-specific brand.

Munro Footwear Group took over management of Bobux on May 10. Bobux was advised during the deal by McGrathNicol.

Jay Munro, co-CEO of Munro Footwear Group, said that the company aims to bring Bobux back to financial health while “preserving the essence and heritage” of its brand. “We have a proven track record of building brands, like our most recent acquisition, Ziera, which has experienced improved performance under our business model.”

Bobux has meanwhile resumed operations across its existing three sales channels – wholesale, distributor, and ecommerce – including delivering the next season’s collection and selling the 2024 range. Its team of 35 staff (25 in New Zealand, 8 in Indonesia, and 1 each in Australia and Denmark) has been retained.