Staff face uncertain future
By JANE MOIR and GREN MANUEL
ABOUT 30 jobs are at risk at retailer USA & Co unless a buyer is found for the stricken company in the next few days.
The group, which operates three stores in high-rent areas selling American products, was forced into receivership last week after it failed to pay debts owed to HongkongBank.
Receivers have started a clearance sale while trying to find a buyer.
John Lees and Morgan Chubb of accountants Ferrier Hodgson and Marfan, have been appointed receivers for the company.
Grant Jamieson, a manager with the accountants, said that, ironically, the clearance sale was proving very successful.
Discounts of up to 60 per cent are being offered.
As a security guard posted a Supreme Court notice outside the Times Square branch stating that the premises had to be cleared by August 25, the manager of 31/2 years was astonished.
'I don't know what happened, all the staff are worried about their salaries. We haven't been told anything,' he said.
Other staff members said that amid the chaos, sales were soaring.
Shoppers were disappointed to hear they would no longer have their favourite Pop-tarts, Jell-O and Scoop Away kitty litter.
The company has been shrinking for the past 12 months, at one stage putting a large notice in its main store window blaming high rents for its troubles.
The original eight stores have shrunk to three, in Duddell Street, Times Square and the Peak Galleria.
Two American women, trying to stock up for the week ahead, were obviously taken aback by the news.
'We moved here about a month ago - this is the only place we can get certain things from home,' one of them said.
Lau Kar-man, who runs a concession within the shop selling barbecues among other products, now faces the prospect of having to pay double the rent somewhere else.