Mrs Fields – Famous Brands is about to file for bankruptcy in the United States as part of its financial restructuring, however, Andrew Benefield, managing director of Mrs Fields Australia says it will have no impact on the Australian franchise, its stores or employees.

“Our board of directors, in conjunction with the committee representing about 78 per cent of our bond holders, has decided to complete (a financial) restructuring through a pre-packaged bankruptcy,” Mrs Fields US president John Lauck specified in a memorandum.

Cookies Australia Pty/Ltd, which operates the Mrs Fields franchise network in Australia under license from Mrs Fields Famous Brands America is an independent entity and will not be affected by the packaged bankruptcy, which will see the US company undergo financial restructuring while being able to continuing to trade.

“Cookies Australia is an independent Australian owned entity with a license to operate the Mrs Fields franchise business in Australia. All of our Mrs Fields stores in Australia are independent businesses with no plans for any closures whatsoever. To the contrary, as we are expanding the network to 50 stores and kiosks and have opened two new stores and five new Cookie Counters in the past 12 months,” explains Benefield.

“We anticipate minimal impact from events in the US with no direct financial or operational impact, as the supply chain is independently owned and operated. In contrast to an Australian bankruptcy, in the US a pre-packaged bankruptcy will take between 30 to 90 days and does not require for assets to be frozen and can be used to restructure a company financially.”

Benefield says he understands that the US bankruptcy is part of a major financial and ownership restructure, with no impact on daily operations in the US or Australia. He believes the restructure and packaged bankruptcy should lead to a stronger entity in the US, which will benefit the global Mrs Fields network.

“Barista style Coffee was introduced in our Australian operation to service consumer demand. This is not the core component of the American model and should not be linked to the closure of other networks in the US.”