Apple reseller, Next Byte, will be shutting down its remaining eight stores during a three month period, taking place from January.
Parent company, Vita Group, said the timing of the closures will be dependent on individual store circumstances, and it will continue providing products and services to its business customers via its telecommunications SMB and enterprise channels.
Next Byte staff will be redeployed to other areas in the Group and if roles can’t be found, retrenchments with full entitlements will be paid, Vita Group said in a statement to the ASX.
“The welfare of our team members and customers is our most important concern and we are working to manage the impact of this decision as responsibly and respectfully as possible,” Vita Group CEO, Maxine Horne, said.
As a result of the Next Byte closure, Vita Group expects EBITDA to range between $25.5 million to $27.5 million, including one-off charges of about $3.2 million at the EBITDA level.
During the 2015 financial year, Next Byte experienced a 20 per cent decline in revenue to $59.9 million, which was attributed to fewer stores and soft sales in older format stores. On a like-for-like basis, revenues were down seven per cent, but EBITDA increased 11 per cent.
Next Byte was acquired by Fone Zone (which changed its name to Vita Group in April 2008) in a deal worth about $30 million in August 2007. At the time, it was Australia’s largest specialist retailer of Apple products and services with 17 stores nationally.
In 2009, the Apple chain had 22 stores.