Shutting up shop
EXCLUSIVE: Liberty torpedoes Stuttafords rescue
Liberty Two Degrees extinguishes last hope for Stuttafords after it fails to support the leases of a prospective bidder
Stuttafords has finally closed shop, after a last-ditch effort to rescue the stores in Eastgate and Sandton failed this week.
Interestingly, it was property company Liberty Two Degrees that scuppered an offer from a prospective buyer.
The 159-year-old grande dame of SA department stores was subjected to a second bidding process, which kicked off three weeks ago and was concluded last week. By Monday morning it was clear it had failed.
One bidder, whose identity has not been disclosed, put forward an offer subject to a condition that Liberty Two Degrees, as the shopping centre owner, landlord and asset manager of the two stores, would support the leases, which would allow it to continue trading in those centres. "Unfortunately Liberty rejected the offer and the two stores were closed on Monday morning," says Stuttafords CEO Robert Amoils."It was a sad outcome as I’d hoped the selected bidder would be able to salvage continuity for those two locations and its staff," he says. Liberty Two Degrees CEO Amelia Beattie says her company received the bid for Stuttafords last Thursday and discussed it at its board meeting on Friday. However, Beattie says the bid "did not meet our business requirements"."It didn’t contain all the information we needed ... in terms of the normal processes of concluding a lease," she says, adding that the company didn’t receive the information it required to enable it to support the leases or...