“A financial disaster”: the personal toll of the Truscotts collapse

Exclusive by Patrick Avenell

ADELAIDE, SA: Dr Christopher Starrs, owner of the failed Truscotts group of electrical retailers, has spoken of the personal toll this collapse has had on himself and his wife, Truscotts managing director Janine Starrs.

Shortly before the Starrs purchased the Truscotts stores from BSL, the stores were valued at over $20 million. Starrs has blamed the economy for this collapse, whilst buying group Retravision WA has attributed the failure to “poor management decisions”, presumably by the Starrs themselves.

Considering that Dr Starrs holds a PhD in an area of economics, and Janine Starrs holds a BA, a diploma in accounting, and an MBA, we asked if Truscotts’ collapse constituted both a professional and personal failure.

“Well of course it is absolutely devastating,” said Dr Starrs.

“It is a situation where it is both personally very upsetting but it’s also a financial disaster, it gives rise to some issues which we will be looking at in the near future, but in the meantime, this is probably one of the worst weeks of my life.”

For those that have trouble sympathising with the owners of a business once valued at over $20 million, and prefer to take the side of consumers and suppliers who may be left out of pocket, Starrs offered a different perspective on this collapse. He said that no third party investors were sought for the purchase. This means that whilst a consumer might be a few hundred dollars out of pocket, and a supplier, a few thousand dollars, he and Mrs Starrs have lost millions in this venture.

We asked Dr Starrs how Janine Starrs was handling this transition.

“I think it would be true to say that we are both very upset. Janine is continuing to work extremely hard supplying the receivers with the information they are requesting. Janine is a tireless worker and she’s battling through the situation.”

When asked if he had considered his next professional move, Dr Starrs said he hadn’t yet considered his future job prospects.

“Haven’t given that very much thought actually, we’re still trying to do what we can to save this. I really don’t know.”

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