Jobs to go as retailer closes doors
INCREASINGLY difficult trading conditions have forced RT Edwards to close its 15 Queensland electrical goods stores and online operations, putting approximately 100 people out of work.
All employees will receive their full entitlements, including superannuation and annual leave.
Managing director Nick Palmer said there would be a series of sales to clear retail stock as the stores were closed over the next two months.
"After such a long time in business in Queensland, the decision to close our retail operations was very difficult and emotional," he said.
"It was only taken after careful consideration and pursuit of all other strategic options including a sale," Mr Palmer said.
"Given the changing and challenging face of retail business these options regrettably were not viable. In the end, we had no alternative."
He said any further delay would be irresponsible.
"We decided to act before our hand was forced and to close our stores in a timely and controlled fashion," Mr Palmer said. "This is a planned and managed exit and we will meet all commitments to every employee who leaves us."
He said all suppliers would be paid under the ordinary terms of trade. All gift cards would be honoured or refunded.
The company's commercial business RT Edwards Commercial would continue to trade, as will its rental business, which finances rental contracts through various retailers.
RT Edwards was started in East Street, Ipswich, in 1931 by Roy Edwards. His son Sir Llew Edwards, the former Queensland Liberal Party leader, began his working life as an electrician in the family business. The Edwards family sold the company to South Australia's Radio Rentals in 2008.
Mr Palmer said RT Edwards had suffered a significant performance decline due to increasingly difficult trading conditions over recent years, particularly in its core electronics and household goods retail categories.
"This has been made even more difficult given the range of new disruptive players who have entered both the retail and consumer rental markets in the past couple of years," Mr Palmer said. "Maintaining sales volumes and margins has been increasingly challenging in recent years and supporting the retail cost structure has become unsustainable."
He said the 88-year-old company was built around a mission to make electrical and home appliances more affordable and accessible to Queenslanders.
"We look back with pride on our contribution ... the jobs we created, the economic growth that we drove and the choice and services we provided to generations of Queenslanders," he said.