Chocolate chain Max Brenner has confirmed it will close 20 stores on 8 October after the brand entered voluntary administration last week.

The mass store closures means there will be just 17 Max Brenner outlets operating in the Australian market, with the remaining stores offered for sale or recapitalisation.

“The decision to close stores is always regrettable, but in this case, we were left with no choice following a store-by-store review of Max Brenner operations,” said administrator Barry Kogan.

The McGrathNicol administrator confirmed staff working at the closed stores would be made redundant.

“It’s pretty crushing knowing I don’t have a job anymore,” CJ Smith told the Mercury. Smith was a store supervisor at the Wollongong branch and was hopeful his job was secure after the outlet did a roaring trade over the weekend.

News has also emerged of the brand’s recent financial hardships. According to Fairfax Media, who obtained a letter sent to staff in February 2017, the company failed to pay superannuation to employees for six months in 2016 after a costly renovation to the Sydney head office.

The letter said superannuation payments had been “delayed” due to cash flow issues.

“As a result of these investments, we are currently refinancing several areas of the business. This process is unfortunately taking longer than originally planned and is having a temporary effect on cash flow”.

The company reportedly paid an employee their owed superannuation with 10 per cent interest by April 2017.

A former Max Brenner worker spoke to Fairfax anonymously, shedding some light on recent day-to-day operations.

“They would get us to take petty cash from the register and walk up to the Coles and bring back litres and litres and litres of ice cream,” she said. “It was the same with milk.”

But it’s not all doom and gloom for the Max Brenner brand, with administrators indicating there has been “strong interest” in the chain. Administrators hope to arrange a deed of company arrangement or sell the business to new owners, with the first creditors meeting held on 11 October.

Image credit: Eat Drink Play


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