An Australian icon will be closing the doors to its retail stores, but at least for now, Darrell Lea, will still sell its products through other retail channels.

The company, known in the United States mainly for its soft-eating licorice, was bought this week by The Quinn Family, which owns Australia-based VIP Petfoods.

Darrell Lea was founded in 1927 and previously was 100% owned by the Lea family. However, in July  PPB Advisory was brought in to conduct an ongoing review of its business after growing concerns about the company's ability to meet ongoing financial obligations.

The sale was announced Monday, and a statement on PPB Advisory’s website says it should be finalized by the end of the week.

Although the new owners still plan to sell Darrell Lea confections through a network of 1,200 licensed retailers, existing wholesale customers and a significant export channel, the remaining 27 Darrell Lea company-owned stores will cease trading Sept. 9.  

“These stores have been consistently loss making for a number of years and did not attract any meaningful interest during the sale process,” reads a statement on the PPB Advisory website.

As for staff, 83 employees will be offered jobs with the new company, but 246 permanent and 172 part-time employees will be laid off.

“While this is unfortunate, the decision is necessary to strengthen the manufacturing and distribution operations, and ensure employment is secured for 83 manufacturing and administrative staff,” PPB Advisory says.

Mark Robinson, of PPB Advisory, says his company extensively reviewed a number of offers before deciding on the Quinn family.

“This sale represents the best outcome for Darrell Lea and it ensures that this iconic Australian brand and its manufacturing operations can continue to operate locally and stay Australian-owned,” says “We are confident that the Quinn family has the necessary skills and experience to take the business forward.”

VIP Petfoods is consumer products manufacturer and wholesaler and has a wealth of experience in food manufacturing and distribution.