PAS Group enters voluntary administration

Black Pepper and Marco Polo women’s apparel retailer PAS Group has entered voluntary administration, citing the impact of COVID-19.

“PAS Group enters voluntary administration with a strong desire to restructure the Group and allow it to continue operating strongly and sustainably into the future,” the company said on Friday.

PAS Group stores would continue to trade as normal, in-line with the coronavirus lockdowns, with all store credits and vouchers honoured, it said.

PwC partners Stephen Longley, David McEvoy and Martin Ford have been appointed administrators.

PAS Group operates 225 retail sites in Australia and New Zealand, including Review concessions in Myer.

Its other brands include Yarra Trail, Designworks, Fiorelli, JETS and Bondi Bather.

It has 1,300 employees, most of which were stood down when PAS Group closed its stores in late March as part of the lockdowns, although they began reopening in early May.

“The Australian retail sector was already facing significant challenges prior to the COVID-19 pandemic,” chief executive Eric Morris said.

The company’s board is of the view that the company is solvent but believes voluntary administration is the best way to affect change while protecting all stakeholders.

For the half-year ended December 31, PAS Group reported a $1.2 million loss on revenue of $129.9 million and said it closed the half debt-free with $4.8 million cash on hand.

PAS Group shares closed on Thursday at 5.2 cents, down 65 per cent since the start of the year.

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