Documents seen by Fairfax Media indicate that Jan Cameron is negotiating a third party investment in the business, or, outright sale. Photo: Michele Mossop
Kathmandu founder Jan Cameron is closing another 50 stores this month from her struggling discount retail chain, Retail Adventures, as she prepares to sell the business she bought back from administrators just last year.
Closing down sales have commenced at Sam's Warehouse and Crazy Clark's outlets across the country and company insiders have confirmed 50 stores across the group are expected to close.
Documents seen by Fairfax Media indicate that Ms Cameron is negotiating a third party investment in the business, or, outright sale.
A spokesman for Ms Cameron did not return calls.
The store closures, which could involve breaking leases signed barely six months ago, are expected to facilitate a sale of the business by its current owner - Ms Cameron's DSG.
Late last month, the manager of Warrnambool's Bayside City Plaza, David Turner, said he had not been officially notified of the plans to close the local Sam's Warehouse store.
Mr Turner said DSG has four years remaining on the lease for the 2400-square-metre store.
"It's a legally binding contract, you can't just make decisions to pull out," he said. "They have four years to run and we expect them to honour those commitments."
Ms Cameron, who made her fortune with the sale of adventurewear group Kathmandu, has been dealing with other retail calamities. Her fortunes took another hit last week with the collapse of New Zealand retailer Postie Plus.
She was the largest shareholder in the 104-year-old clothing chain, which went into administration last Tuesday. She had a 19 per cent holding in the company.
Retail Adventures has proven to be a millstone for Ms Cameron since she first brought the failed business from administrators in 2009 for $70 million.
The 350 store chain cost her another $80 million in funding before the significant losses, and uneconomic structure, forced her to appoint administrators in 2012.
Around 700 employees lost their jobs and unsecured creditors were owed $165 million.
A controversial deal lead to Ms Cameron's DSG Group operating the business on behalf of the administrators at that time.
She then acquired the restructured business, numbering 200 stores, back from the administrators using $59 million worth of secured loans she had previously made to Retail Adventures.
Liquidators appointed earlier this year to the old Retail Adventures group are targeting Cameron entities for up to $100 million in claims over the group's collapse in 2012.
The liquidators have said their investigations have revealed "compelling evidence the company traded while insolvent".
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