Singapore

Naisse makes a comeback online

Five months after it stopped operations, home-grown, multi-label retailer Naiise made a comeback online yesterday after being acquired for an undisclosed amount by the WestStar Group.

WestStar Group is an investment firm founded by Mr Ong Lay Ann, formerly the chief executive of now-insolvent Honestbee.

Naiise, best known for stocking products by local designers, creatives and artisans, had announced the acquisition on its Instagram and Facebook pages yesterday morning.

Its website went live at 9pm with about 20 brands.

The acquisition included Naiise's online market platform, trademark and social media accounts.

LIQUIDATION

The retailer had stopped operations on April 14 three days after it closed its Jewel Changi Airport store and following years of payment delays to its vendors.

Among its creditors were hundreds of vendors owed sums from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands, banks and former staff.

Besides putting Naiise into liquidation, its founder, Mr Dennis Tay, also filed for personal bankruptcy.

Mr Tan Wei Cheong, a partner with Deloitte & Touche and the liquidator of Naiise, told The Straits Times the company has no material assets left. He declined to comment on debt recovery for creditors.

Naiise offered assurances to would-be vendors in its post yesterday, saying that its "new and improved online marketplace platform allows sellers to be paid instantly upon every successful order fulfilment".

Naiise said it will gradually introduce over 500 merchants and debut new brands on the platform, including "more hyper-local, eco-friendly and independent international brands".

Speaking to ST, Mr Ong said he had been "on the lookout for good quality companies that have potential to scale, and this was one of the companies I was interested in".

He added: "We need to support these local companies and industries, because if we don't, what will be left of the retail landscape?

"Otherwise, when the pandemic blows over, only the very big companies will survive."

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