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Jobs at risk as Dwell ceases trading

Dwell, the upmarket furniture retailer, has collapsed after attempts to sell it failed, putting about 300 jobs at risk.

The retailer said it had ceased trading and closed its 23 stores and one concession, while asking staff to stay at home, as it prepares to appoint administrators.

The company said no deliveries will be made and customers with outstanding orders should contact their card issuer.

Dwell hired Argyll Partners last month to look at options including a sale. However, no buyer was found

The company's most recent annual results, which cover the 12 months to January 27 2012, shows that pre-tax losses expanded from £439,721 to £1.69m.

The accounts show that Dwell, which is owned by Key Capital Partners, had net debt of £6.1m but £11.7m of debt due for repayment during the next 12 months.

The company warned in its latest set of results that the "current economic situation is uncertain, consumer confidence is low and trading conditions are challenging within the declining household goods and furniture sector".

The company said on Thursday: "The business had been working with its advisers to secure further working capital for the business and was actively in the process of talking to a number of interested parties who saw the value of the Dwell brand and product, its customer base and its multichannel proposition.

"However, despite this interest it did not progress. As a result we have been left with no option but to close the business with immediate effect."

Dwell is reported to be close to appointing Duff & Phelps as administrator and its website has been taken offline.

A spokeswoman said it is too soon to say what will happen to jobs.

It started trading from a single store in Balham, south London, in 2003 and expanded in the south of England. In recent years it has opened stores in Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow, but has struggled amid sluggish consumer confidence and a weak housing market.

Dwell has its headquarters in Milton Keynes, where it also has a warehouse and distribution centre.

It has stores at Lakeside Retail Park in Essex, Tottenham Court Road in London, Manchester's Trafford Centre, Glasgow, Balham, Birmingham's Fort Dunlop and Bullring shopping centres, Bluewater in Kent, Bristol, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Guildford, Kingston, Leeds, Manchester, Milton Keynes town centre and retail park, Nottingham, Reading, Richmond, Solihull and Westfield shopping centres in west and east London.

Dwell is the latest casualty in the battered retail sector, which has this year seen firms including entertainment group HMV, camera retailers Jessops, bed retailer Dreams, DVDV rental store Blockbuster and youth fashion chain Republic plunge into administration.

Source : The Telegraph

20 June 2013
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