Legacy department store Harris Scarfe will be saved from complete collapse by retail giant Spotlight Group, potentially securing the ongoing employment for more than 1,000 employees.
The receivers of Harris Scarfe have granted exclusivity to Spotlight Group to acquire the business after the department store fell into administration in December 2019.
The exclusivity comes after a vigorous due diligence process that saw four parties shortlisted and given access to the trading records of the business.
Once the acquisition is complete, Harris Scarfe will join Spotlight Group's portfolio of retail brands including craft supplier Spotlight, sporting goods store Anaconda and adventure goods group Mountain Designs.
The receivers are now working with Spotlight to secure the ongoing employment for the remaining 1,300 Harris Scarfe staff and the continued survival of the 170-year-old Australian business.
According to receiver Vaughan Strawbridge there is still plenty of work to be done to complete the sale.
"There is still a lot of work we need to do together to finalise the transaction and we will be working with the Spotlight Group and the Harris Scarfe Leadership team to make this happen," says Strawbridge.
"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."
A settlement of a sale is expected to occur as early as the middle of April 2020.
The grant of exclusivity to Spotlight follows an announcement in early January from receivers that 21 Harris Scarfe stores around the country were forced to close.
Around 88 full-time, 128-part time and 224 casual positions were affected by the closures.
Harris Scarfe fell into receivership on 11 December 2019, despite its nation-leading customer satisfaction rating and annual sales of $380 million.
Business News Australia
Get our daily business news
Sign up to our free email news updates.