Chocs away – Koko Black to close


Luxury chocolatier Koko Black is expected to close its Queenstown store for good tomorrow.

The Melbourne-based premium chocolate manufacturer and retailer went into voluntary administration across the ditch last month.

The Queenstown outlet, on Rees Street, was not part of that process.

But earlier this week, the store began accepting cash-only payments and slashed its prices by 40 per cent.

Manager Fawn Birmingham says: “We’re open till Friday.

“We have eight staff but the majority have managed to find jobs in Queenstown, there’s quite a lot of
work out there so everyone’s ok.”

Birmingham says she’s not authorised to speak to the press about the reasons for the store closure.

The Australian head office did not respond to Mountain Scene requests for information or an interview.

Chocolate king Shane Hills and his family spent more than $500,000 on the fit-out of the split-level Rees
St shop, which opened September last year.

Koko Black opened its first store in Melbourne in 2003 and has 12 Aussie stores in Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and Canberra.

Joint voluntary administrator Sal Algeri, Deloitte’s restructuring services partner, last month said: “The business expanded very rapidly and undertook a series of major projects over the past 18 months.

“In combination, the level of activity was beyond the resources of the business.”

Algeri said Koko Black stores in Australia and its 300-worker central manufacturing facility in Victoria will operate as normal.

“It’s important that customers, suppliers and employees understand that it’s business as usual.”

He’s looking to restructure and recapitalise the business.