Pumpkin Patch workers could get no redundancy payout


A day after the announcement their company was going into receivership, many Pumpkin Patch workers learned they may not get any payout if they lose their jobs.

First Union spokesperson Robert Reid says because of the company's structure, the situation the workers face is complex.

"Everyone who works in the shops are covered by that company, but those who work in head office and those who work in the distribution centre… are covered by the parent company.

"Our members and other workers there have put thousands of dollars into buying Pumpkin Patch shares, they are now absolutely worthless."

It means there are essentially two different companies. Unless one can take over the other as part of the receivership process there'll be no redundancy or holiday payout for those workers.

"We'll be investigating those to see if there's any way legally the entire Pumpkin Patch empire could be considered as one," Mr Reid says.

"Often in these situations… I would describe them as being sad, but in this case they're actually angry."

KordaMentha partners Brendon Gibson and Neale Jackson were appointed as receivers to the children's clothing retailer and its subsidiaries on Wednesday.

Mr Gibson said at this stage all Pumpkin Patch stores in both New Zealand and Australia would remain open in receivership.

"A number of parties have already expressed interest in the business. Our hope is that new owners can be found to build on Pumpkin Patch's heritage as an iconic brand in New Zealand and Australia," he said.

However, he said some stores were likely to close within weeks.

Prior to the receivership, Pumpkin Patch had already announced that it planned to close further stores.

"Some of these have already closed and this programme will now accelerate for some stores across Australasia in an effort to improve the salability and viability of the business.

"Sadly, this will result in some job losses and we will be communicating directly with the staff concerned as soon as possible," Mr Gibson said.

Pumpkin Patch is headquartered in New Zealand where it has about 600 staff nationwide across 43 stores, as well as wholesale and online businesses. In Australia, there are about 1,000 staff and 117 stores operating under the Pumpkin Patch and Charlie & Me brands.

Pumpkin Patch and Charlie & Me gift vouchers will be honoured on a dollar-for-dollar basis. For example, a $40 purchase can be paid for with a $20 gift voucher and $20 cash.

Last year Pumpkin Patch spurned a number of parties interested in buying the business, saying at the time that they offers weren't compelling enough.

Last week it said there was virtually no value left in its equity after talks with its lender ANZ Bank New Zealand fell through.

The shares have been suspended, having last traded at 6 cents, valuing the retailer at $10.1 million.

NZN / Newshub.