1600 Pumpkin Patch staff to lose jobs as store-wide fire sales begin

Pumpkin Patch

Failed children’s clothing retailer Pumpkin Patch is beginning the painful process of letting its 1600 employees go, as their final drastic sale rolls out across Australian and New Zealand.

Employees hit hard

Shoppers may be rubbing their hands together and preparing to score a bargain, but employees of Pumpkin Patch are not. They’re reeling from this devastating blow which hits them right before the festive season and holidays.

The Age reports that the business, which has failed to attract a buyer and is $76 million in debt, has already shed 63 employees from head office in Auckland, with another 440 NZ jobs on the chopping block. Pumpkin Patch posted a $15.5 million loss for the year to June 2016.

The remaining 1000 Australian staff will all lose their jobs as stores wind down and close – presumably between December 2016 and February 2017 – dependent on directives from receivers and store closure dates.

Fire sale

Pumpkin Patch’s receiver, Korda Mentha, say that the 117 Australian Pumpkin Patch stores and 43 New Zealand outlets will continue to trade until the end of December, with some remaining open until February as they try to cash in as much stock as possible.

Receivers have tried to sell Pumpkin Patch since they took control in October, but were unsuccessful.

“Unfortunately, while the brand is attractive, the business itself ultimately drew no interest at the conclusion of the sale process,” receiver Brendon Gibson said.

“We now move to the next phase of the receivership, which is to sell off stock and begin winding down the business.”

Not competitive

While the brand was once beloved by parents, the chain has failed in the wake of the success of cheaper, discount operators such as Kmart, retail experts say.

Receivers say that gift vouchers will continue to be honoured, but sales will mean that stock levels will be hard to predict. If you’re holding onto a gift voucher, you’d be well advised to spend it sooner rather than later.

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