UPDATE: Administrators announce plan to save Stockland stores
UPDATE 4.20PM: ANDREW Schwartz of AS Advisory is one of two administrators called in to handle the liquidation of Terry White Chemists and Priceline in Stockland Rockhampton.
Mr Schwartz advised he and Matt Adams of FTI Consulting were appointed this morning, and have since been in discussions with other parties who may be interested in acquiring the businesses.
He said their intention was to keep staff employed.
"We are working with the company to develop a plan to move forward with a view to finding a party that might be interested in acquiring the businesses," Mr Schwartz said.
"We are working towards trying to recapitalise the business with a view to the business going forward.
"If that is successful obviously there would be opportunity for employment."
Mr Schwartz said the administration process would take about four weeks.
The closure came as a shock to staff this morning.
Several Stockland shoppers were unaware of the liquidation this afternoon, but were saddened by the news.
Signs inside the darkened shop state, "Due to Electrical Problems the store will not be opening today".
UPDATE 2PM: STOCKLAND Rockhampton have confirmed administrators have been appointed to the Priceline Pharmacy and Terry White Chemist at the centre.
A Stockland spokesperson said they were informed of the development about 12pm.
"We are aware that the operator responsible for the Terry White and Priceline pharmacies at Stockland Rockhampton has chosen not to open either store for trade today," the spokesperson said.
"Just after midday today, we received notification that an administrator has been appointed to both of the operator's pharmacies. We will seek a meeting with the administrator to understand and agree a plan for the future of the two pharmacies."
The spokesperson said Stockland would work to get a pharmacy up and running at the centre as soon as possible.
"We understand that our customers appreciate and value the convenience of having easy access to a pharmacy at the centre," the spokesperson said.
"If it is determined that either or both pharmacies will cease to trade, we will seek to re-establish at least one new pharmacy at Stockland Rockhampton as soon as possible.
"We will keep our customers informed about the outcome of our discussion and future plans to reinstate a pharmacy within the centre.
"In the interim, we would advise customers that the nearest alternative pharmacies are Chemist Warehouse, located at Aquatic Place, North Rockhampton; and Malouf Pharmacy, located at Northside Plaza, North Rockhampton."
The spokesperson said any customers who may have unclaimed prescriptions at either Terry White and Priceline pharmacies at Stockland Rockhampton are advised to request a new script from their General Practitioner.
INITIAL: UP TO 40 people have reportedly lost their jobs this morning following the closure of two major Rockhampton pharmacies.
A Morning Bulletin source at Stockland Rockhampton has confirmed staff were visibly upset this morning after being informed of the closures of Terry White Chemist and Priceline Pharmacy at the centre.
While signs on the closed doors of the businesses say 'due to electrical problems the store will not be opening today', the Morning Bulletin understands both stores, which shared the same owner, have gone into liquidation.
Terry White Chemist is located near Woolworths while Priceline is underneath the centre next to the Mandalay Medical Centre.
The source said the move follows months of negotiations regarding the future of the businesses.
The Morning Bulletin understands one of the major issues for Terry White was the cost of rent which was approximately $70,000 per month.
Other pressures which may have impacted the businesses include major changes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
The changes aim to save the Federal Government $835 million over four four years at the expense of local pharmacies.
The impact has seen the bottom line of the average pharmacy reduced by about $30,000 per year, on top of the $60,000 impact from existing arrangements.
No other stores in the franchises are affected by the closures and other Terry White and Priceline stores within Rockhampton are operating as per normal.
The Morning Bulletin has tried to contact both stores this morning but have had no response.
The Morning Bulletin are seeking comment from Stockland Rockhampton as well as the head offices of Terry White Chemist and Priceline Pharmacy.