CLOSURE: A popular homewares chain has announced its shock collapse, with the future of its Lismore store uncertain. Photo: Supplied
CLOSURE: A popular homewares chain has announced its shock collapse, with the future of its Lismore store uncertain. Photo: Supplied

Future of Lismore store uncertain after chain collapses

A HOMEWARES chain with a store in Lismore has announced its shock collapse this morning, with staff calling the news "a pretty bad day".

Ishka, an Australian home furnishing store, has gone into voluntary administration, with the company launching a "total clearance" sale with its website revealing "everything must go".

The family-owned chain was founded 50 years ago and there are 60 stores across the country, including 15 in country areas such as Lismore's Carrington Street store.

There are more than 450 staff members on the nationwide payroll.

Ishka sells handmade crafts, homewares, gifts, clothing, furniture and jewellery from throughout the world, and was started almost 50 years ago in a small workshop in Glen Iris, Melbourne.

Ishka owner Toby Darvall told news.com.au the collapse came "out of the blue" and was the result of two "catastrophic" factors.

He said Australia's unusually challenging summer period, coupled with a devastating delay of more than $3 million worth of Christmas stock had crippled the business.

"It has been a devastating 24 hours for us. We came into December actually trading really strongly and looking really good so we were quite excited about Christmas," news.com.au reported.

"We had a good digital week in November and Black Friday and Cyber Monday went crazy.

"But unfortunately in late November and early December, quarantine seized 32 components of Christmas stock. Now normally that would be released quite quickly … but a week later they hadn't arrived, then a week after that and we were starting to get concerned, and then a week later in mid-December I thought, 'my God, we're not going to get our Christmas stock'."

Then, the bushfires hit, along with other recent extreme weather events including the drought, floods and hailstorms followed by the coronavirus, which Mr Darvall said created a "perfect storm" battering the already-fragile retail sector.

Rachel Burdett of Cor Cordis has been appointed administrator of the business, and will convene a meeting of creditors within a week.

At this stage, all stores remain open.

The Northern Star has contacted an Ishka representative for comment on the fate of the Lismore store.

More to come.



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