What is happening at Kathmandu?

Kathmandu clothing’s general manager of retail resigned yesterday.

He leaves the company in 2 days. That’s right. Two whole days.

His responsibilities will be taken up by other team members until someone new has been found.

This is very odd, and certainly not a normal practice for nationwide/trans-tasman listed companies to have senior staff take off on 2 days notice, and without anyone prepared to step in to the role.

Were Xmas sales even worse than expected? Is something else afoot? Trouble at Aussie Mill?

Emails into the confidential Whaleoil tipline please.


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  • Willsomers101

    Its easy!
    Christchurch-based outdoor adventure retailer Kathmandu Group is set to be snapped up by private equity investors for $275 million, cementing its founder’s place as New Zealand’s richest woman.
    That was a few years back. Private equity means only one thing. The place is stuffed.

    • Gazzaw

      Conspiratorial bollocks. Just check out the report in the SMH 23 December. The GM Retail fucked up in a trading year when there was no room for error.

      • Willsomers101

        If they are privately held , whats the problem with a rough patch that everyone is going through, no public shareholders to dump the stock like Billabong….ops PE has overgeared and is underwater… cant pay the bank….. receivers cant be far away.
        What was their business model again, the clever financial types  have all the answers – not

    • Pharmachick

      at the risk of being antagonistic and rude … Go away you horrible little communist.

      Private Equity (also known as venture capitalism or VC) RUNS easily half of biotech and small Pharma businesses in this world. And of course, those businesses are all miserable failures. Miserable I tell you [/sarc]. 

  • James

    Very unsual indeed. Most intelligent enterprises lock their senior staff in with at least a 4-6 month notice period. It’s not like an easily replacable chocolate robot on the production line (excuse the phrase, though I heard someone from F&P use that expression and it’s stuck in my head and seems appropriate for this site) 

    If inappropriate conduct he would have been marching the same day without the chance to touch anything resembling company property.  Perhaps he had left the company car with the mistress and needed a couple days to retrieve?

    • Willsomers101

      He’ll be paid  gardening leave for the next 6 months. I Its certainly because of the Xmas results and or a shouting match with his CEO. Perhaps he didnt get to implement the strategy he wanted and said ‘ told you so’

      • Guest

        Yeah, not out of the bounds of reality. How did his CEO, Peter Halkett do when he was at Noel Leemings?

    • Spud

      Chocoate robot?? Careful someone will report you to our esteemed race conciliator Mr Boris Debris……or whatever the clowns name is

  • Gordon

    There is a possibility that something sinister happened, though it’s just as likely that Kathmandu’s sales look like graphic sexual imagery, but not in a nice way.

    • Pharmachick

      LOL, nice one Gordon… appreciate your wit :-)

  • David

    I would guess Macpac is giving them a real run for their money, jan Cameron is involved and mirroring khatmandu tactics. Went to both stores in queenstown last week and Macpac was much busier. Have to say their business models annoy me with pricing their goods at outrageous prices then doin a 50% discount is treating customers like idiots.

  • JAX

    Well also could be going to a competitor,  hardly unusual to walk someone who has resigned to go to a competitor or similar and clearly they wouldnt have a replacement.     

    Saying that i was intrigued to learn the other week that the for cool kids at all the prestigious schools MacPac is the in brand,  all the kids are hassling mum and dad for Macpac branded bags at $150.      I was very surprised but made more sense when they explained your not allowed branded (ie Billabong) bags – only ones like Macpac,   thats got to be a good sign for business.    You would have thought Kathmandu would be allowed,  but clearly not cool enough. 

    • Michael

      Jax is probably right, I have an automatic immediate departure clause in my employment agreement that is triggered if I join a competitor or there is some other conflict of interest. It’s at my employers option, they still have to pay me for the six weeks notice and I can’t start until the six weeks are up.

  • Bo Jangles

    This is just another example of the failed Private Equity model .   Pay too much , borrowed to much, and Piss Poor Management  =  DTD        >        down the dunny

    • Guest

      That might be a little unfair on all private equity owners. Some do very well, especially if founders or management interests are aligned with success – e.g. share bonuses. In Kathmandu’s case, they have been expanding into Britain, of all places. Why the hell would they be going into europe with the massive economic risks there? Far better to go into Canada and East Coast USA with greater urgency.

      • Rockfield

        Having worked for a substantial (the company, not the kids) childrens clothes retailer and wholesaler for a number of years.  I can quite categorically state that the US, either coast and the middle, has been a graveyard for the last five years or so.  UK is a barley break even scenario.


      • Bo Jangles

        The fatal flaw of the PE model is that the promoters of company purchases are paid up front success fees on these leveraged purchases, instead of profit share arrangements.    Shades of Wall St practices for upfront payments for CDO’s etc

  • Si

    Perhaps he’s realised that all he was selling was over priced crap.

    There whole market strategy seemed to be based around marking goods at over inflated prices and then try to convince he customer they are onto a good deal by slapping a sale sticker on it.

    • Rockfield

      Gosh Si, I think you have just got Retail 101 !!!


      • Si

        Well if I have they’ve got an epic fail.

  • HSV325

    He had a shocker xmas and has decided to walk or he is off to the opposition I would say. Sharemarket darlings 6 months ago and dropped like a stone. Most big retailers and construction related business’s are doing it really tough with most margin gone from the business due to over traded sectors and startups buying market share. There will be a couple of big failures with in the next 6 months as it is an unsustainable market in its present form

  • Petal

    Better go take my gift card in before it turns into worthless cardboard :)