DICK SMITH'S 'MOVE' STORES HIT WALL AT AIRPORT

DICK SMITH'S 'MOVE' STORES HIT WALL AT AIRPORT

DICK Smith Limited's (ASX:DSH) four Sydney Airport concept stores, known as Move, will close today after negotiations by receivers failed to secure a buyer.

The so-called 'fashtronics' stores were established by Dick Smith last year in partnership with global duty free group Gebr. Heinemann.

Plans were in place to open seven stores at Sydney Airport and expand the business concept internationally, with the stores targeting trend-driven youth with a focus on consumer electronics travel products and accessories.

However, a week after receiver James Stewart, of Ferrier Hodgson, announced plans to close all Dick Smith electronics stores after failing to secure a suitable offer for the group, he has announced the same fate for the Move stores.

"Unfortunately, we have been unable to reach agreement to sell the Move airport assets and have no option but to close the stores located at Sydney International Airport effective from today," says Stewart.

There are four Move stores located at both international and domestic terminals in Sydney and the closure will result in the loss of 48 jobs, which includes part-time and casual positions.

Stewart says that, where possible, employees will be offered positions within the remaining Dick Smith store network ahead of its planned closure in April.

"They will also be offered appropriate outplacement support," he says.

Stewart has given assurances that all employee entitlements are to be paid in full, reflecting a similar statement last week following news of the planned closure of all Dick Smith stores.

The collapse of the 40-year-old Dick Smith group will result in the loss of 2900 jobs in Australia and New Zealand, although Brisbane-based Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) last week extended a hand to Dick Smith employees looking for a move into the travel industry.

Flight Centre says it will offer former Dick Smith employees the chance to be fast-tracked to the end stage of Flight Centre's recruitment process.

Dick Smith was placed into voluntary administration in January with debts of $390 million. It came a little over two years after private equity group Anchorage Capital Partners floated the company on the ASX for $520 million.

Investigations by the receivers have uncovered inconsistencies in payments to employees, with estimates that they were short-changed about $2 million over the past six years in holiday pay and leave loading entitlements.

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