On 17 August 2017, the directors of the Bubs Baby Shops Pty Ltd and associated entities appointed Simon Cathro and Chris Cook of Worrells Solvency & Forensic Accountants as voluntary administrators.
The Bubs Baby Shops have a 17-year trading history and have six stores in Queensland and two stores in New South Wales. All stores, except for Logan, are still trading.
Numerous parties are affected by the voluntary administration including suppliers, who have supplied their stock under a myriad of security provisions; the landlords of each of the eight Bubs Baby Shops and warehouses; trade creditors, the employees of businesses, and customers.
Mr Cook said, “It certainly is an emotional and difficult time for all affected. The majority of customers are expectant families who need to have arrangements in place for their newborns. The directors were pained to be in this position, and have been instrumental in ensuring that the staff and store operations have continued, while my teams in Queensland and Simon’s teams in New South Wales have been meticulously and swiftly reviewing all stock, records, and most critically: customers’ laybys”.
Worrells advises 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, and each transaction must be assessed under different conditions and provisions.
“In situations like these, we are highly mindful of how people are impacted by the steps taken at each juncture of the voluntary administration process. We’re pleased, to say, in respect of laybys, that we exercised some discretion to honour as many as possible.”
Hundreds of customers with laybys were today advised, in detail, what the position was for their particular layby and the options available.
“It’s unfortunate that in some instances there simply isn’t the stock to satisfy some laybys. We 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.
“We’re grateful for the unwavering support from all the staff in the Bubs Baby Shops. They have been terrific; they’ve dealt with some difficult and stressful situations with customers with courtesy and compassion.”
Worrells advises that for any customers who do not want their layby purchase, they can lodge a proof of debt in the administration via its website www.worrells.net.au.
In the voluntary administration process, a first meeting of creditors is held within eight business days of the appointment, and a second meeting of creditors is usually held within 20 to 30 business days after the appointment. It is at the second meeting that creditors will determine the Bubs Baby Shops’ 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 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