Victorian-based homewares retailer ISHKA has become the latest victim of Australia's deepening retail crisis, collapsing after almost 50 years in business.
Specialising in handmade craft, gifts, clothing and homewares, ISHKA operates 60 stores and employs over 450 staff.
The retailer said an "unusually challenging summer period" and $3 million worth of Christmas stock delayed on wharves crippled the business.
Rachel Burdett of Cor Cordis has been appointed administrator of the business and will be exploring options to find a buyer for the business.
All ISHKA stores will remain open while the administration process takes place.
ISHKA's owner Toby Darvall pledged to ensure that staff and suppliers will be paid what they are owed.
"We want our staff, makers and suppliers to know that they will be paid regardless of the outcome," Mr Darvall said.
"They are our number one priority. We are now in for the fight of our lives to save ISHKA."
Mr Darvall said that "every option" had been explored in an effort to delay the collapse.
"After a catastrophic Christmas and summer we realised everything wasn't right so we've been flat out working on solutions to protect staff, suppliers, landlords and creditors," he said.
"We've done everything and explored every option we could to save the business and we are working very closely with our bank.
"This is a heartbreaking decision to make."
AUSSIE RETAILERS THAT HAVE CLOSED IN THE LAST 12 MONTHS:
Curious Planet: The science store, formerly known as Australian Geographic is set to close 63 stores.
Napoleon Perdis: Beauty retailer entered voluntary administration, with stores closing across the country.
Criniti's Restaurant: Popular restaurant chain entered voluntary administration, with several of the 13 sites across the country set to close.
Bardot: Women's fashion retailer will shut vast majority of its stores over the coming months. 530 jobs will be lost.
McWilliams Wines: Country's sixth-largest wine company appointed voluntary administrators. Had been run by same family for more than 140 years.
EB Games: Video game retailer closing at least 19 stores in 'unprofitable' locations across the nation.
Red Rooster: Closed seven Queensland stores in October 2019, leaving 100 staff without jobs.
Ed Harry: Menswear retailer went into voluntary administration and closed all 87 outlets across the country.
Harris Scarfe: Australian department store placed into voluntary administration in mid-December.
Karen Millen: British fashion giant closing all Aussie stores, leaving 80 people without work.
Muscle Coach: Leading fitness company put into voluntary administration after company racked up debts of almost $1 million.
Dimmeys: Discount retailer closed its doors for good after 166 years of trading.
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/ishka-stores-homewares-retailer-collapses-in-horror-retail-summer/432e477c-6a47-41f1-91f0-3d2e5b95989b