Pumpkin Patch enters final phase

EVERYTHING GOES: The balance of stock will be consolidated in the remaining stores as the receivership enters its final phase. Times photo Nick Krause.

The children’s wear chain Pumpkin Patch will shut its doors for the last time in just a few weeks.

The receivers have announced the closure of further Pumpkin Patch and Charlie & Me stores in New Zealand and Australia.

A further 68 stores will close this week with the loss of up to 560 jobs. In addition, two earthquake-damaged stores that are currently closed will not be reopening.

Receiver Neale Jackson said that further closures had been signalled in late November 2016 when the decision was made to wind down the business after it failed to attract a potential buyer.

“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.

“All Pumpkin Patch staff are aware that the business is closing down and that stores will gradually close as stock is sold,” Mr Jackson said.

Staff have been advised of impending closure dates and have access to EAP support (counselling) services. They will receive holiday pay, outstanding wages and other preferential entitlements (up to the statutory cap in NZ).

“As a result, head office staff have also been given notice that their employment will be coming to an end progressively over the coming weeks,” Mr Jackson said.

“This has been a very difficult  time for all Pumpkin Patch staff. We acknowledge and thank them for continuing to work diligently to see the closure process through.”

The remaining 56 stores will close as and when stock is sold, through to mid-February.

Stuff.co.nz last month reported Pumpkin Patch owes its bank nearly $60 million and its unsecured creditors another $13.2m.

A receivers’ report by Brendon Gibson and Neale Jackson of KordaMentha shows the children’s clothing company, which was put into receivership in October, owed $59.5m, chiefly to the ANZ.

Preferred creditors, largely the 1600 staff it employed in the lead-up to its receivership, were still owed $2.7m by Pumpkin Patch.

Inland Revenue had not submitted a claim yet, said Stuff.co.nz.