11:03am Oct 28, 2020

by Stuart Marsh – Senior Producer

The Aussie retail group responsible for brands such as Review, Black Pepper, Yarra Trail and Marco Polo has been saved from administration after a rival investment firm bought the group as a whole.

Overnight the administrators of the PAS Group, who entered voluntary administration in late May, announced that the business would be bought by private equity firm Queens Lane Capital (QLC).

The PAS Group operates wholesale and brisk-and-mortar retail stores, and also holds licences for well known brands such as Lonsdale, Slazenger, Bluey, Disney and Peter Rabbit.

Other brands within its stable include Fiorelli, Designworks and swimwear brands JETS and Bondi Bather.

It’s estimated that the offer to buy the PAS Group has saved around 1000 Australian jobs.

Administrators Stephen Longley, David McEvoy and Martin Ford of PwC said they were pleased to have found a buyer for the group.

“The Australian retail sector continues to face many challenges. We’re confident that the ongoing restructure of The PAS Group will place all PAS businesses in the best position to overcome those challenges,” Mr Longley said.

“Under Administration, we have been able to restructure the business and position it for sustainable, ongoing success.

“The staged approach to the sale also ensures the continued employment for most of the staff, who will be offered ongoing roles within the business.

“I’d like to thank those employees for their conduct throughout the process – their commitment and hard work have been fundamental to the success of this deal.”

Larry Kestelman, chairman of QLC, said he was excited about the opportunities within The PAS Group.

“PAS Group has the right foundations, and we are confident that it is set up to have the best chance of success in what is a very tough retail environment,” Mr Kestelman said.

“Given the nature of the apparel business, and the lead times required, we are already involved and working with the team on future plans.”

As part of the deal, QLC will acquire brands Designworks and Yarra Trail prior to Christmas this year, before acquiring the rest of the PAS Group by the end of January 2021.

In the meantime, all PAS Group stores will trade as normal dependent on state-governed COVID-19 restrictions.

All store credits and vouchers will continue to be honoured.