As creditors met in late August to ascertain the brand’s future in Australia, Ferrier Hodgson partner Brendan Richards confirmed the business would be wound up.
Administrators’ intention at the outset had been to continue to trade and sell the business, he said. However their ability to sell the business was hampered by the fact that Steve Madden was a licensed product and the licence provided by its US parent company had been terminated due to the insolvency of the group.
Following the initiation of the administration, Ferrier Hodgson implemented a marketing campaign to secure a buyer for the company. However, only one offer was received and the interested party had a different vision for the brand, which was not supported by the licensor.
Steve Madden Australia went into administration in July following a shortfall of working capital. The chain, which has 35 stores across Australia including nine standalone stores, eight clearance stores and 18 Myer concessions, had turnover of $17 million last year and employed around 200 people.
Hit hard by the global financial crisis and having struggled to maintain an appropriate level of working capital, Steve Madden is not the only footwear business to have succumbed to the downturn in recent times. Earlier this year, Melbourne-based footwear group Figgins Holdings shut 43 stores in its Shoobiz chain and sold its Florsheim brand due to the weak retail environment.
Steve Madden opened its first Australian store in Melbourne Central in 2005. The US business was founded by New Yorker Steve Madden in 1990, from a factory in the suburb of Queens.