Homeform is headquartered in Manchester, with more than 160 showrooms and concessions nationally and 1,208 employees. The company trades under the brands Moben Kitchens, Dolphin Bathrooms, Sharps Bedrooms and Kitchens Direct.
Shortly after appointment, the administrators sold the Sharps Bedrooms division to a new company, Sharps Bedrooms Limited, owned by an affiliate of Sun European Partners LLP.
Under the deal 96 of the showrooms and concessions together with the Sharps factory at Bilston and offices at Camberley became licensed to Sharps Bedrooms Limited. The new business will be headquartered from the Sharps factory at Bilston.
The sale safeguarded 627 jobs and ensures that customers who paid a deposit for a Sharps bedroom will have their deposits honoured by Sharps Bedrooms Limited.
Meanwhile the operations of Moben, Dolphin and Kitchens Direct have been closed down, although the administrators continue to market the brands for sale. In the absence of any funding, there was no alternative but to close the business, leading to 557 redundancies, while 24 continue to be employed.
The administrators now face a huge task in handling Homeform’s live customer orders. Some 2,733 customers have paid deposits totalling £5.6m. Of these, 1,359 Sharps customers with deposits of £1.5m will have their orders fulfilled by Sharps Bedrooms Limited.
Unless a sale of the remaining Homeform businesses takes place, 921 Moben, Dolphin and Kitchens Direct customers with deposits totalling £2,58m should be able to reclaim their deposits from their credit or debit card provider.
If a sale of the remaining Homeform businesses can’t be completed, 453 customers with deposits totalling £1.5m, who did not pay on a debit or credit card or finance agreement, are unlikely to receive refunds. They can however register claims with the administrators.
Bowers said: “The business 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.
“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.”
Bowers added that Homeform’s trading downturn resulted in a funding requirement that management attempted to bridge through different funding providers and cash initiatives.
A funding option could not be secured, and the director then placed Homeform into administration.