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Sharps Bedroom sale saves 600 Homeform jobs

THE newly-appointed administrators of Trafford-based Homeform Group has announced that they have managed to successfully sell off the Sharps Bedrooms business in a deal which will save the jobs of 627 of the group's 1,300 staff.

The beleaguered group has just appointed Bill Dawson and Phil Blowers from the Manchester office of Deloitte as administrators, but a "pre-pack" deal was agreed to sell the Sharps business back to Homeform's private equity owners, Sun European Partners.

The new company has taken over 96 of the 160 former Homeform depots and will also guarantee existing deposits and warranties which were held by Sharps.

Sharps will now move its headquarters to its manufacturing base at Bilston in Wolverhampton.

However, Deloitte has begun closing down the remainder of the group including Moben Kitchens, Kitchens Direct and Dolphin Bathrooms, although it is continuing to market the brands for sale. Some 557 staff have been laid off as a result.

Sharps' managing director Kevin Smith said: "It is 100% ‘Business as Usual’ for Sharps. This is and always has been a successful and market leading business and we look forward to developing it further to make Sharps even better."

Bill Dawson, joint administrator and a partner in Deloitte’s Manchester-based restructuring services team, said: “The business has suffered from the extreme pressures currently hitting retailers of high value items, as customers shy away from big ticket purchases such as kitchen and bathrooms.

"The deal achieved with Sharps Bedrooms secures 627 jobs and also ensures that the new business is able to complete Sharps customer orders. A number of sub-contract fitters and designers may also benefit from the sale.

“We are now in urgent discussions with the key stakeholders and interested parties of Moben, Dolphin and Kitchens Direct in an attempt to sell all or parts of the businesses. We have written to all the employees with briefings to help them understand their position.”

Sharps has said that it will begin contacting customers with outstanding orders to arrange a new delivery schedule. Customers of Moben, Dolphin and Kitchens Direct who paid either by debit or credit card and had goods delivered (but not fully fitted) will be contacted by the administrators' agent over the next ten days to arrange for the work to be completed.

Source : Mike Fahy - The Business

06 July 2011
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