Max Brenner To Shut Majority Of Australian Stores Following Collapse

Max Brenner will close more than half its stores for good this coming Monday, only a week after the chocolate and café chain entered voluntary administration.

The swift action follows a rapid review to identify the stores with a financial future.

"The decision to close stores is always regrettable but in this case we were left with no choice following a store-bystore review of Max Brenner operations," Administator Barry Kogan said.

20 of 37 stores will cease operations at 5pm on Monday. Staff at the stores will be made redundant.

READ MORE: As Max Brenner Melts, Staff Say Super Went Unpaid

READ MORE: Chocolate Cafe Chain Max Brenner Goes Into Voluntary Administration 

Retail industry expert Brian Walker points to a lack of innovation in explaining the chain’s downfall. The indulgent chocolate offering had not been adapted to meet an increasingly health conscious customer base.

“Not innovative enough. Not unique enough to the market. Somewhat of a fad,” the CEO of Retail Doctor Group said.

“One of the keys to this types of formats is to always innovate, to always bring product out, always be unique”.

“I would argue that they really weren’t doing that at the rate that they needed to do”.

Caught up in the mess are 600 employees, some of whom last week revealed details of missing superannuation payments and a toxic work culture.

Fairfax media has since reported details from insiders claiming the chain was unable to afford regular ice cream supply contracts and staff were instructed to use petty cash to buy stock at local supermarkets.

Administrators have called on fans of chocolate and regular customers to support the remaining 17 stores, while they try to find a suitable buyer.

"Advertisements will be placed in the Australian Financial Review and The Australian newspapers on Monday seeking expressions of interest in a restructure or purchase of the profitable store network. Based on the strong interest we have received to date we expect a high volume of inquiries,” Mr Kogan said.

Brian Walker believes there remains attractive assets in the Max Brenner portfolio.

“It’s possible a national chain could look at them for that distribution network,” he said.

“I think that’s really the main asset - the footprint, the brand name and the customer database.”

Stores Being Closed
  1. Kingston (ACT)
  2. UNSW, Kensington (NSW)
  3. Wollongong (NSW)
  4. Central Park, Chippendale (NSW)
  5. Newtown (NSW)
  6. Parramatta (NSW)
  7. Casuarina, Darwin (NT)
  8. Gasworks, Newstead (QLD)
  9. Portside, Hamilton (QLD)
  10. Milton (QLD)
  11. Townsville (QLD)
  12. Toowoomba (QLD)
  13. Australia Fair, Southport (QLD)
  14. Rockhampton (QLD)
  15. Coolangatta (QLD)
  16. Carindale (QLD)
  17. Rundle St, Adelaide (SA)
  18. Woodgrove, Melton West (VIC)
  19. Joondalup (WA)
  20. Whitford City, Hillarys (WA)
Stores To Remain Open
  1. Belconnen (ACT)
  2. Macquarie Centre (NSW)
  3. Narellan (NSW)
  4. Doody St, Alexandria (NSW)
  5. Charlestown (NSW)
  6. Blacktown (NSW)
  7. Manly (NSW)
  8. Centrepoint, Sydney (NSW)
  9. Tuggerah (NSW)
  10. Bondi Junction (NSW)
  11. Surfers Paradise (QLD)
  12. Robina (QLD)
  13. Southbank (QLD)
  14. Queen Victoria (VIC)
  15. Highpoint, Maribyrnong (VIC)
  16. Craigieburn (VIC)
  17. Doncaster (VIC)

The first meeting of creditors will be held on Thursday in Sydney.