Stationery Brand kikki.K Collapses Into Voluntary Administration

Stationery brand kikki.K has collapsed into voluntary administration, blaming a lack of demand during the Christmas retail period and a move to online shopping.

The brand, which has an almost 20-year history, has 65 stores across the world including the U.K., New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong -- however, the majority are based in Australia.

The company's 450 full-time equivalent employees have been told it's "business as usual" for the moment as shareholders hope the brand will be bought and allow kikki.K to continue.

kikki.K opened in Melbourne in 2001. Image: Facebook.

Swedish-born founder Kristina Karlsson said kikki.K started with a "young girl's dream 20 years ago and became an international success story with customers in over 150 countries."

"It is with profound regret and sadness that we take this action," Karlsson said in a statement.

"I’m so proud of what we as a team have been able to achieve and the positive impact we’ve made on the lives of literally millions of people the world over," she continued.

"We know that we’ve done everything in our power to avoid this outcome. The last few weeks have been some of the most challenging of our lives but we remain determined to find the right new partner to continue chasing our dream."

kikki.K first opened its doors in Melbourne in 2001 and has since become a well-known brand in Australia.

At its peak, the company had more than 100 stores globally.

Karlsson's partner and kikki.K co-founder and CEO Paul Lacy said the company had tried everything to save the business, hoping to secure a partnership deal with a large global business.

"But we ran out of time and had no choice but to place the company into external administration," Lacy said.

Lacy said a number of major international events had also impacted its business, including the introduction of Brexit soon after the brand launched in the U.K.

He said, the unrest in Hong Kong, as well as the unprecedented impact of bushfires and coronavirus in Australia, had hit many businesses and countries hard.

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This season's Christmas sales were also down significantly for the company, Lacy said, adding that the business had also been affected by consumers changing their shopping habits from in-store to online.

"This unprecedented line-up of external factors, particularly in recent weeks, has really taken its toll."

But the CEO admitted there were also factors that kikki.K had control over that "we could have done better".

"As we looked ahead we just didn’t have the certainty we could keep going so have had to take this decision."