Juice sector feels the squeeze

Stuart Ariff associate Chris Horn said it was hoped a deal could be struck with franchisees, landlords and all creditors to keep the company from collapsing.

The Courier-Mail
June 22, 2005

Juice sector feels the squeeze
Emma Chalmers

THE first cracks have started to appear in Australia's multimillion-dollar fresh juice market after Victorian-based Juice Station entered administration.

The company, which sells juice from 20 stores including premises in Queensland and Victoria, appointed administrator Stuart Ariff Insolvency two weeks ago to help deal with debts of between $1 million and $2 million.

The first creditors' meeting was held last week and disclosed the group owed the largest debt to its bank and also owed money to suppliers of its bottles and fruit.

Stuart Ariff associate Chris Horn said it was hoped a deal could be struck with franchisees, landlords and all creditors to keep the company from collapsing.

"We're continuing to trade the company-owned shops and franchise shops and the objective is to put together a scheme or to do a scheme so it can continue to trade in the future," he said.

Juice Station sells pre-squeezed, bottled juice from 17 franchised stores and three company-owned outlets. It is a minnow compared with Boost Juice, which has about 175 stores and $100 million in revenue each year.

Mr Horn said that while Juice Station's problems were predominantly internal, some of its stores had succumbed to pressure from the blossoming juice market.

"Our position at the moment is that this is more internally generated, there's no doubt about it there is increasing competition and some of the stores have been marginal and some of the stores have been closed," he said.

"But the fundamental business is profitable and that's why we think there's an opportunity for it to go forward."

Juice Station was founded in 1996.

Mr Horn said the next creditors' meeting was due in two weeks.


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