Business

Dick Smith Holdings' chief executive steps down

Dick Smith store Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The electrical retail chain was founded by entrepreneur Dick Smith in the 1960s

The chief executive of Australian electronics retailing giant Dick Smith Holdings (DSH) has resigned amid efforts to sell the struggling company.

Nick Abboud's resignation was announced on Tuesday and follows the company going into receivership last week.

The firm owes some 390m Australian dollars ($271m; £187m) to creditors, said receivers Ferrier Hodgson.

DSH has 393 stores under four brands across Australia and New Zealand.

In a statement to the Australian stock exchange the company said sales during the Christmas shopping period had been below expectations.

Trading in the company's shares was halted last week ahead of the news.

Mr Abboud's resignation follows angry calls from the public and government officials over the retailer's decision not to accept previously issued gift cards - despite saying it would continue to trade as usual while under administration.

South Australian independent senator Nick Xenophon has called for "urgent legislative changes to corporations law to protect gift card holders caught up in [DSH's] corporate collapse".

The company has also been criticised for not making public sooner its financial situation.

The firm employs 3,300 people and its brands include Dick Smith, Electronics powered by Dick Smith, Move and Move by Dick Smith.

Up for sale

Image copyright Sergio Dionisio
Image caption The electronics giant was founded in 1968 in Sydney by entrepreneur Dick Smith

On Tuesday, Ferrier Hodgson put the Dick Smith and Move businesses up for sale. The receivers said they had already seen some 40 expressions of interest and that they would want to sell the company as a going concern.

However, several big brand names in Australia, such as Harvey Norman, have said they are not interested in buying any parts of the company.

The electronics giant was founded in 1968 by Dick Smith - who was at the time a young electronics technician.

He started the company as a car radio installation business in Sydney. It was later taken over by Australian supermarket giant Woolworths, which expanded the company quickly.

Anchorage Capital Partners bought the firm in 2012 and it was listed in Australia in December 2013.

Retail Fusion Brands former head Don Grover has been made the firm's interim chief executive.

Expressions of interest to buy the various businesses are due by 27 January.

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