That sucks: Vacuum retailer Godfreys goes to the wall; 54 stores, 200 jobs at risk

Leading vacuum retailer Godfreys Group has entered voluntary administration, a process expected to result in the closure of 54 stores within the next fortnight and the loss of nearly 200 jobs.

Jan 30, 2024, updated Jan 30, 2024
Godfreys has gone into liquidation.

Godfreys has gone into liquidation.

Three partners of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Australia have been appointed as voluntary administrators of Godfreys’ Australian entities, with two PwC partners from New Zealand appointed over its New Zealand subsidiary, PwC announced on Tuesday.

Established in 1931, Godfreys is one of the world’s largest vacuum retailers, operating 141 stores and employing more than 600 staff across Australia and New Zealand, with another 28 stores run by franchisees.

Most will continue to trade but 54 will close shortly, resulting in 171 staff in Australia and 22 in New Zealand being laid off.

PWC partner Craig Crosbie said like many retailers, Godfreys had faced a challenging economic and operating environment.

“Lower customer demand amid cost of living pressures, higher operating costs and increased competition have all taken a toll on profitability, with some stores more impacted than others,” he said.

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“”Our aim is to move quickly to restructure Godfreys to preserve as much of the business and as many jobs as possible.”

The administrators expect to sell the business and assets of the restructured business as a going concern, with strong interest expected from prospective buyers.

Godfreys was founded in Melbourne by Godfrey Cohen during the Great Depression, at a time when vacuum cleaners were sold door-to-door and could not be purchased in Australian stores.

It listed on the ASX in late 2014 but was taken private just four years later after struggling from competition from retailers such as Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, Amazon and

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