IT retailer Newstead axes 100 staff in reorganisation; business as usual at some stores

IT retailer Newstead axes 100 staff in reorganisation; business as usual at some stores
PHOTO: The Straits Times file

SINGAPORE - Home-grown electronics retailer Newstead Technologies will remain operational for now, following a reorganisation of the company that has seen 40 per cent of its 250 staff let go.

The firm, which operates more than a dozen stores including Apple reseller Nubox and electronics concept store Digital Style, was placed under provisional liquidation last Thursday (Oct 4), according to a statement issued on Tuesday evening.

The appointed provisional liquidator, Mr Tee Wey Lih of Acres Advisory, together with the Newstead management team have completed a reorganisation of the company and it is business as usual at all 10 Nubox outlets, as well as selected Newstead stores, the statement said.

"The company will continue to honour all transactions and service commitments during this transition period... Newstead also appreciates the support of employees, vendors and partners in this time," the statement said, adding that the firm is in talks with investors to find a workable solution for all parties involved.

A creditors' meeting will be scheduled for Nov 2, and the notice of the meeting will be issued next week.

The Straits Times reported on Monday that the firm was being voluntarily wound up, with Newstead stores at Suntec City and Marina Square having shut in the last week.

Staff at its office and stores in Sim Lim Square, Nex and City Square Mall declined to comment when approached by The Straits Times on Tuesday, though sales staff said that warranties purchased at Newstead stores would be honoured by product manufacturers.

Mr Low Ah Seng, 55, a delivery driver for an electronics supply company, said Newstead owes his firm $3,000 for an order of hard disks delivered two weeks ago.

Part-time sales assistant Jack Ng, who works at laptop retailer Atrix on the fourth floor of Sim Lim Square, said one of Newstead's four stores in the mall has been closed since last Wednesday.

"The staff came in for a meeting in the morning but instead of opening the shop they just took some belongings and left," he said.

Customers attempting to contact Newstead have been leaving their contact numbers with Atrix, which is located across from the shuttered store, and asking to be notified if the store reopens, said Mr Ng, 22.

"I'm not sure what happened... it was quite sudden. It's a big company so I'm shocked," he said.

Newstead, which was established in 1998, had been touted last year as the largest IT anchor for the upcoming Funan mall, with plans to occupy multiple concept stores across 15,000 sq ft when the revamped mall reopens next year.

A spokesman for CapitaLand said on Tuesday that "discussions with our tenants are ongoing and confidential", and that other IT retailers will include AddOn Systems, T K Foto and GamePro.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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