Furniture chain Walmsley in administration

Furniture chain Walmsley has become the latest casualty of the consumer spending downturn after collapsing into administration.

The business has more than 60 stores across the UK, although 25 have already been sold to a new owner by administrators from Leonard Curtis. Uncertainty surrounds the future of the remaining stores and staff.

The failure of Walmsley's, which specialises in sofas, beds and dining furniture, follows the recent demise of Floors-2-Go, Lombok and the UK arm of Habitat.

Furniture retailers have been particularly badly hit as cash-strapped consumers put off purchases of big ticket items.

The new owner of the 25 stores, reported to be a private equity firm, has also acquired all of Walmsley's stock.

The company was founded in 1933 and claimed to have more stores on the high street than any other furniture retailer.

In 2008, the company was accused of selling sofas that left people with rashes and burns.

Walmsley, along with Argos and Land of Leather, were alleged to have imported sofas from China containing a chemical fungicide called dimethyl fumarate.

More than 5,000 people joined a group litigation, making it the largest consumer injury class action in UK history.

The chemical was subsequently banned and around 1,650 people are understood to have received compensation worth £20 million.

Of the company's 63 stores, it is understood that 38 have been closed, mainly in the north of England and the Midlands.

In the North West eight stores shut, in Ashton, Blackburn, Burnley, Farnworth, Kirkby, Preston, Runcorn and Skelmersdale.

There have been nine closures in the Midlands and Wales: Bangor, Coventry, Derby, Dudley, Erdington, Hereford, Stafford, Walsall and Wrexham.

In the North East and Yorkshire there were 11 closures, in Castleford, Grimsby, Halifax, Hartlepool, Huddersfield, Hull, Middlesbrough, Rotherham, Scunthorpe, Sheffield and Worksop.

Five stores were closed in Scotland, in Airdrie, Dalkeith, Dundee, Irvine and Paisley.

A further five shut in the south at Basildon, Bedminster, Bracknell, Sittingbourne and Weston.

The other 25 Walmsley's stores were bought by private equity firm SKG, which also owns Suffolk-based Mark Elliot Handmade Furniture and Sofas, after it bought the firm out of administration a year ago.

Mark Elliot, which makes furniture to order in the UK, also has stores in locations including Monmouth, Cheltenham, Stamford, Norwich and Bury St Edmunds.


Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Online Customer Service Administrator

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online customer Service Admi...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global, industry leading, ...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk