04/05/2022 - 11:35

'Horrendous' months push Live Clothing over edge

04/05/2022 - 11:35

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The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and event cancellations has pushed Perth streetwear brand Live Clothing into liquidation, with owners hoping to find a buyer to save the business.

'Horrendous' months push Live Clothing over edge
Live has been operating five stores in Perth. Photo: Live

The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and event cancellations has pushed Perth streetwear brand Live Clothing into liquidation, with owners hoping to find a buyer.

Live first opened in Murray Street mall in 1994 and had 13 stores across the state in 2017.

But Shaun Boyle of BRI Ferrier was appointed as liquidator on Monday, with Live saying sales will roll out at Live’s five stores at Carousel, Booragoon, Joondalup, Morley, and Whitfords in days ahead.

The business had been unable to pay suppliers and landlords during a downturn in recent months, although employee entitlements for the 26 staff have been met.

Live had a younger customer demographic and was particularly exposed to event cancellations, with events driving more than 60 per cent of sales, the business said.

The pain had started in August 2021, and managing director Jay Coleman said the company was further hit on 23 December when the government tightened restrictions.

“Sales literally halted the afternoon of the announcement and it continued on to destroy Christmas,” Mr Coleman said, noting that the lead up to New Year was a key time for the fashion retailer.

“All retailers are hurting, however our positioning as an event orientated destination has meant we’ve suffered more than most. 

“We’ve seen December sales down 50 per cent and most months post December have continued with the same trend.” 

“For instance, we saw boxing day sales down 60 per cent across all stores. 

“Foot traffic at all major Centres in which we operate was decimated.”

He said each store had at least six staff, and more than half were being sent home by midday with traffic low.

“It was horrendous, and this trend has continued right through to April,” Mr Coleman said.

Directors and liquidators will now be looking for a buyer, or the company will be wound down.

“It has been an exciting, albeit challenging four-year journey that we’ve been on with Live, and we would love for someone with great courage to step forward and take her on a new and exciting journey,” Mr Coleman said.

“We encourage anyone who is interested to step forward.

"Help save this great WA icon!”

In 2018, it was reported that Live would close 11 stores for a month during an administration and liquidation process.

Mr Coleman bought five stores with the hope to revive the business, which was relaunched in May 2018.

“It’s kind of bittersweet in some ways, 2 May was almost four years later exactly,” he told Business News.

“I do have a lot of passion for the brand.

“I think it's a fantastic Western Australian icon."

His strategy at the time was to make the product offering unique and differentiated.

“I realised that the brand had stepped away from its original DNA, so we were trying to bring it back again," Mr Coleman said.

Mr Coleman said the 2021 financial year had been the company’s best ever, but the hit Live had been enduring since Spring had been unsustainable, and it followed the launch of a new store concept in Joondalup in August 2021.

He said he felt gutted and the business had been fighting very hard over the past few months.

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