The 19-shop Software Today chain has been put into liquidation by its creditors after spending three months in voluntary administration.
Liquidator Jack Duff of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu has opened a software clearance centre in Brisbane to dispose of the chain's slow moving stock. However, the chain's outlets in Queensland, Melbourne, NSW and the Northern Territory will continue to trade while attempts continue to sell the chain as a going concern.
Staff numbers which peaked at 130 are being allowed to fall through attrition but no layoffs have been ordered, Duff said. "We are trying to keep the storefronts equipped with current software. Suppliers have been very understanding and supportive."
To date, about 10 potential buyers have expressed interest in the chain, Duff said. Receipt of expressions of interest will remain open until the end of July.
"With the calibre of interest so far, there is every prospect of a sale with ongoing activity by an incoming owner," Duff said. "We are hoping to have it all done and dusted by September."
The chain stores' largest attraction lies in their shopper-friendly design and their consistent layout and decor, he said. Software Today also has a high public recognition factor, at least in Queensland, thanks to aggressive advertising and its Escapemobile, a mobile salesroom mounted on a semi-trailer.
Liquidators have set a July 31 closing date on offers and are allowing another month for contract settlement. Software Today creditors are owed a total of $2.4 million. Their returns will be maximised by the sale of the business as a going concern rather than a forced sale where assets are auctioned piecemeal. Until that situation is resolved, however, liquidators say they cannot forecast the return creditors can expect.