Godfreys Group, a well-known vacuum cleaner retailer, has recently gone into administration, leading to the closure of dozens of stores and nearly 200 job losses. The 93-year-old brand fell victim to a sharp decline in consumer spending and the changing landscape of the vacuum cleaner market.

The company’s fate now rests on the shoulders of administrators PwC, who are actively seeking a buyer for the business and its assets. The closure of 54 stores in Australia and New Zealand is imminent, with 193 employees set to lose their jobs. The future of the remaining 141 stores and over 600 staff will largely depend on the success of the sales process and the decisions made by a potential new owner.

Jane Allen, daughter of Godfreys co-founder John Johnston, expressed the necessity of this action, citing the impact of weak consumer spending on the company’s sales. Despite the company’s efforts to improve profitability, it was unable to withstand the challenges posed by changing consumer habits and increased competition.

The company’s struggle to innovate in response to societal changes and increasing competition from other retailers contributed to its decline. In recent years, Godfreys faced increasing competition from appliance retailers such as JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman, as well as online retailers. Additionally, its decision not to sell Dyson cleaners, which have a dedicated customer base, further impacted its sales.

While the future of Godfreys Group remains uncertain, the company’s foray into the robotic cleaner and cordless stick vacuum market provided some success. The company’s restructuring and sale process is being overseen by PwC, with the aim of preserving as much of the business and as many jobs as possible.

The story of Godfreys Group echoes that of other well-known Australian brands, such as Sara Lee, which has faced similar challenges but managed to find a lifeline through the efforts of private companies and administrators.

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