Kikki.K saved from collapse by US stationery company

Collapsed stationery retailer kikki.K has been saved from administration by a US-based buyer which will see the business continue to operate with a reduced store footprint in Australia.

The business entered voluntary administration in early March, blaming a "perfect storm" of retail conditions for the failure, including Brexit, civil unrest in Hong Kong, a shift to more customers buying online and the coronavirus pandemic.

Kikki.K, founded by Swedish entrepreneur Kristina Karlsson in 2001, fell into administration in March.Credit:Josh Robenstone

On Tuesday the business announced it had signed a partnership with fellow stationery company Erin Condren Design, a US business which is popular for selling desk planners emblazoned with inspirational quotes and designs.

Thirty stores and 250 jobs will be retained under the newly restructured business, with 35 stores set to shut and around 200 jobs to be lost. The majority of stores will be Australian-based, with two in New Zealand, one in Singapore, and two in Hong Kong.

Co-founders Kirstina Karlsson, who started the business in 2001, and Paul Lacy will continue to run the business and will remain shareholders, with kikki.K operating as an Australian sister company to Erin Condren.

Following the collapse, nine potential buyers expressed their interest in the brand within 24 hours, the founders said, and customers flocked online to support the business, driving e-commerce sales up 200 per cent.

"We really got caught in a perfect storm leading to voluntary administration, but our dream to do something meaningful in the world via kikki.K has been so strong we’ve done everything we can on behalf of all stakeholders," Ms Karlsson said.

"It’s a great feeling to come through it with a brilliant result in the circumstances and with the overwhelming support of creditors."

Tonia Misvaer, the chief executive of Erin Condren, said the business had long admired kikki.K's designs and jumped on the opportunity to buy the business out of administration.

"We look forward to working with everyone at kikki.K through this restructuring process and returning the brand to profitability," she said.

Kikki.K stores outside of Victoria are open and trading again, the company said.

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