GROCERY delivery company Aussie Farmers Direct has been placed into voluntary administration and the company will close immediately, leaving its 260 employees without a job.
Company directors believe the national food and groceries delivery network has fallen victim to competition from cheap imported products sold by its opposition.
The home delivery service struggled to compete with the big supermarkets in a tough retail environment, directors have said, while its ability to sell locally-grown and made products was hampered by cheap imports.
The collapse leaves more than 100 franchisees and 260 employees out of work, and about 100,000 customers potentially with unfulfilled orders.
Administer KordaMentha Restructuring, which was appointed today, said it was not possible to continue trading and the business would stop running immediately, affecting 100 franchises, 260 employees and about 100,000 customers across the country.
The fall of the 13-year-old business follows multiple attempts to recapitalise, find a strategic partner and sell.
Its closure comes two years after it challenged supermarkets by offering thousands of grocery items on its sister site The General Store.
Aussie Farmers Direct began in Victoria as a home delivery service for fresh milk, cheese and juice.
Within its first five years it spread its wings to NSW, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the ACT, and began offering organic produce.
In 2010, the company that championed Australian producers was touted as one of the country’s fastest growing franchises.
Administrator Craig Shepard said the business had little cash.
“Most of the company’s debt was held by entities associated with local and overseas investors. There was no significant bank debt,” he said.
Mr Shepard said a meeting of creditors will be called next week.
It is believed deliveries scheduled for Monday would be the last.
Aussie Farmers Direct’s last mile logistics service, Home Delivery Services, would not be affected by the administration and would continue to trade.