Aussie retail giant saves Harris Scarfe

THE Spotlight Group will purchase embattled retail chain Harris Scarfe, saving up to 1300 jobs and dozens of stores including two in Queensland.

After a "vigorous" due-diligence process the administrators have granted exclusivity to the Spotlight Group to buy the business.

Four potential buyers were short-listed and given access to the trading records of the Harris Scarfe, but it was the family-owned Spotlight Group which prevailed.

Administrators say Spotlight is a "highly experienced Australasian retailer with a large property portfolio ideally suited to enabling future growth for Harris Scarfe employees and all stakeholders".

DS OpCo Pty Ltd, trading as Harris Scarfe, was placed into receivership on December 11.

Stores at Cairns, Hervey Bay, Mackay, Morayfield, Rockhampton and Townsville were among 21 across Australia closed by administrators of the company.

Chermside and Carindale remain as the company's only Queensland stores.

The Spotlight Group is a longstanding Australian business. Picture: Ian Currie
The Spotlight Group is a longstanding Australian business. Picture: Ian Currie

The administrators are trying to secure the ongoing employment for the remaining circa 1300 Harris Scarfe staff and the survival of this 170 year old Australian business.

Administrator Vaughan Strawbridge said there was still work to do "to finalise the transaction and we will be working with the Spotlight Group and the Harris Scarfe Leadership team to make this happen".

"We are hopeful all of the 44 stores will be retained under the sale but ultimately, this will be dependent on how the transaction progresses over the next couple of weeks," he said.

It is expected a settlement of a sale could happen as early as the middle of April.