The first meeting of creditors for the nine companies that form the ‘Bubs Baby Shops Group’ was held today. Worrells Solvency & Forensic Accountants’ Simon Cathro and Chris Cook were appointed to the Bubs Baby Shops Group on 17 August 2017.
The Bubs Baby Shops Group has a 17-year trading history with six stores in Queensland and two stores in New South Wales, along with an online sale entity. Three of the eight stores are still trading, specifically Fortitude Valley, Aspley, and Maroochydore.
Worrells is calculating and verifying the quantum of Group’s debt, including its employees’ entitlements. Investigations to date suggest that trade creditors are owed approximately $3.2 million across the nine companies within the Bubs Baby Shops Group.
An expressions of interest campaign has generated some interested parties for the sale of the Bubs Baby Shops Group’s assets. These parties are being provided with an information memorandum and will then undertake their own due diligence.
Since Worrells’ appointment some 12 days ago, its teams have worked tirelessly to reconcile and assess all customer layby orders to exercise some discretion to honour purchases where possible while at the same time, protecting any security interests held by suppliers.
Mr Cook said, “Our offices received over 1,000 customer enquiries about laybys, many of which are expectant families. The Bubs staff have been instrumental in ensuring that store operations have continued. We’re incredibly grateful to the staff for their ongoing courtesy and compassion for customers in the face of some highly emotional and stressful situations.”
Last week, Worrells advised that the legal position on customer laybys is a complex area, exacerbated by suppliers who have a registered security pursuant to the Personal Property and Securities Act 2009, with each transaction requiring to be assessed under different conditions and provisions. Worrells have been proactive to advise customers of their options available, including the possibility of making a claim with their financial institution if they made layby
payments on a credit card. Customers with unfulfilled layby purchases, can lodge a proof of debt in the administration via its website www.worrells.net.au.
The second meeting of creditors is scheduled for 21 September 2017. Under the Corporations Act 2001, it is at this meeting that creditors will determine the Bubs Baby Shops Group’s future.
Worrells appreciates the impact the appointment has on the businesses and the community and will continue to proactively communicate with all affected parties. The objectives of the voluntary administration regime will assist to bring about the best possible outcome for the Bubs Baby Shops Group and its creditors.
Worrells has 26 offices nationally and 24 partners, across Qld, NSW, ACT, Vic, SA, and WA. Worrells has been providing solvency management, insolvency administration, and forensic investigation services for over 40 years.
Partner, Worrells Sydney
Partner, Worrells Brisbane