The viability of stand-alone software stores is under question following the closure of Melbourne-based Software Express after 15 years as a specialist retailer.
Software Express managing director Greg Boot said in a press release that shifting market conditions of late had conspired to "make the business unprofitable".
While Boot himself has ceased operations at all four Software Express locations - Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane - the latter store will continue to trade under the name of Software Express Queensland P/L. Its fixtures and fittings have been sold to former manager Denise de la Rue, the statement said.
Boot said margins had continued to spiral downwards and though Software Express had managed to trim infrastructure overheads and operating expenses, it was unable to continue trading on returns of "around 12 per cent".
"We do not see how we can continue with such narrow returns," Boot's statement read, before moving on to say software has increasingly become commoditised and is sold like a "packet of cornflakes".
Software Express paid all entitlements to staff and, as far as it is aware, believes it has not left any customers "financially affected". Most stock has been returned to suppliers while remaining assets are being realised to pay creditors, the statement said.
The Brisbane store had continued to trade profitably through the turmoil and all three staff there would be retained, de la Rue said. Having overcome some hesitation from suppliers, she has managed to restock and will continue to manage the store herself. She felt there was a positive future for Software Express Queensland.
"The major distributors have come to the party and we have secured supply lines for the majority of popular brands," de la Rue said. "We will have to change focus and we intend to do things a little different but we have a very good customer base and service them well."