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Pumpkin Patch stores to close mid-February

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 19/01/2017 Paul McBeth
Pumpkin Patch © Brendon O Hagan/ Bloomberg news Pumpkin Patch

All Pumpkin Patch will close by mid-February after receivers couldn't entice a buyer for the failed children's wear chain, which traded through the traditionally busy holiday period.

Sixty-eight stores employing 560 people will close by January 31, and the remaining 56 stores across New Zealand and Australia will shut as and when stock is sold, through the middle of next month, receiver Neale Jackson of KordaMentha said in a statement.

Pumpkin Patch staff at head office will lose their jobs over the coming weeks.

"We have successfully traded stores through the traditional holiday period and stock levels are now considerably reduced," Mr Jackson said. "The balance of stock will be consolidated in the remaining stores as the receivership enters its final phase."

The company was tipped into receivership by its lenders in October and appointed voluntary administrators after failing to reinvent itself in the face of shrinking sales and too much debt. The receivers wanted to sell the business as a going concern, but couldn't shake out any buyers.

Pumpkin Patch owed its lender ANZ Bank New Zealand $59.5 million as of the date of receivership, the report says, up from $46m at the year ended July 2016, when it posted an annual loss of $15.5m.

All staff were aware that stores would gradually close as stock was sold and would receive holiday pay, outstanding wages and any other entitlements, Mr Jackson said.

"This has been a very difficult time for all Pumpkin Patch staff. We acknowledge them for continuing to work diligently to see the closure process through," he said.

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