Luxury retailer Sneakerboy — facing a liquidation push from Adidas — is also being pursued by the ATO for $1.2m in unpaid super and taxes.
Luxury retailer Sneakerboy — facing a liquidation push from Adidas — is also being pursued by the ATO for $1.2m in unpaid super and taxes.

Sneakerboy chased by tax office over $1.2m dispute

Luxury sneaker retailer Sneakerboy is being pursued by the Australian Taxation Office for $1.2m in unpaid superannuation and taxes.

The hit to the Melbourne-based retail chain, which sells $1500 pairs of sneaker from exclusive brands, such as Balenciaga, comes as it faces a liquidation push from former supplier Adidas.

A hearing to wind up Sneakerboy in the Melbourne Supreme Court on Thursday heard that the high-end streetwear retailer and Adidas are working on a deal to settle a dispute over a $150,000 bill.

But the Australian Taxation Office, represented in the hearing as a supporting creditor, requested to take over the winding up application against Sneakerboy if Adidas dropped it.

Sneakerboy co-owner Theo Poulakis.
Sneakerboy co-owner Theo Poulakis.

If the court ultimately approves the winding up order, a liquidator will be appointed to take control of the business which operates cutting edge retail boutiques in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

The liquidator may then choose to close the business down and sell off its assets in order to recoup funds for creditors.

The tax office is pursing Sneakerboy for $1.2m in super guarantee charge and other unpaid taxes, the court heard.

The super guarantee charge is levied by the tax office when a business fails to pay an employee's super.

It covers outstanding amounts of super plus a 10 per cent penalty.

The case will return to court in late April when the court will be updated on the proposed settlement with Adidas.

The Herald Sun revealed earlier this week that Sneakerboy, which sells brands including Alexander McQueen, Gucci, Lanvin, Common Projects and Nike, was facing a liquidation push from Adidas.

A former employee has since contacted the Herald Sun, claiming he was not paid his super during the three years he worked for the retailer, the majority of which was spent in full-time employment.

 

Sneakerboy’s Melbourne store.
Sneakerboy’s Melbourne store.

The Melboune employee, who lodged a complaint with the Australian Taxation Office last year, provided the Herald Sun with pay slips which listed regular super payments, as well as details from his superannuation fund which showed those payments had not appeared.

Sneakerboy is part of Luxury Retail Group which also operates Mulberry in Australia.

Luxury Retail is backed by Nelson Mair and Theo Poulakis who together founded up-market menswear business Rhodes & Beckett.

Mr Mair said the group was disputing the tax office's claim and did not owe it any money.

He said the group was "highly solvent" and he was not aware of any issue around unpaid super.

The retailer's management was always open to hearing from any concerns employees had about their pay, Mr Mair said.

"It's very frustrating - we are clear with the ATO," he said.

"We just need to get the left hand and the right hand talking to each other and that will happen soon."

Sneakerboy has three shops in Melbourne at Little Bourke Street in the city, Chadstone shopping centre and South Wharf DFO.

It is getting ready to open a new $3.5m flagship store in Sydney.

john.dagge@news.com.au

Originally published as Sneakerboy chased by tax office over $1.2m dispute



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