In January, KPMG was appointed voluntary administrators of Australian clothing retailer, Jeanswest, which has been operating for 48 years. KPMG retail restructuring practice lead, James Stewart said like many other retailers, Jeanswest had been challenged by tough market conditions and pressure from online competition.

Employing 988 staff in 146 stores across Australia, the retailer continued to operate while the administrators conducted an urgent analysis of the business with consideration of restructure and sale options. The administrators sought expressions of interest from parties interested in acquiring or investing in the business.

Shannon Ingrey vice president and general manager – APAC of enterprise ecommerce solution company, BigCommerce told Retailbiz that the collapse of Jeanswest is a testament to the shifting nature of the retail and ecommerce industry in Australia, where simply having an online presence is no longer enough.

“Well-known brands with long-lasting customer followings are just as answerable to the expectations of consumers as smaller pure-play online businesses. Consumers are engaging with retailers from more touchpoints than ever before – and they expect a cohesive, personalised and seamless shopping experience at every stage of the journey.”

The announcement from Jeanswest, along with the collapse of other Australian retailers like Karen Millen, Curious Planet, Bardot and Harris Scarfe, shows that it’s now critical for Australian retailers to better understand their customers and invest in providing a differentiated experience, he said.

“On the other hand, as the retail climate shifts, local businesses are assessing their processes, streamlining their operations and evaluating their legacy systems to keep them competitive and profitable. EB Games recently closed 19 underperforming stores (they still have over 300). These kinds of changes – including the closing of underperforming stores – are part of running a healthy business and it’s highly likely that we’ll see them open new stores in 2020.”