Furniture retailer Dwell collapses after failed attempts to find white knight

 

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The Independent Online

Upmarket furniture chain Dwell today closed all its stores and ceased trading both on the High Street and online with immediate effect, with the potential loss of 300 jobs.

The 23-store retailer filed a notice of intention last week to appoint the advisory firm Duff & Phelps as administrator, with a formal announcement expected over the coming days.

This will make Dwell, which opened its first store in Balham in 2003, the latest High Street casualty this year. This follows the demise of HMV, Blockbuster, Jessops and Republic, although all four have emerged out of administration under different owners with significantly fewer stores.

Dwell’s fate was sealed by dire sales of big-ticket items and a recent cash-flow crisis. It had been working with advisers at Argyll Partners to find a white knight and to secure fresh working capital but interested parties walked away. A Dwell spokesman said: “As a result we have been left with no option but to close the business with immediate effect.” The retailer said those customers who have bought products from Dwell and have outstanding orders should contact their card issuer, which means that some non-credit card shoppers could lose out.

Dwell’s pre-tax losses widened to £675,320 over the year to 27 January 2012, according to its latest accounts. The chain was originally founded as a mail-order furniture business by Aamir Ahmad, who stepped down as managing director in November after a refinancing. Dwell’s chairman Neil McCausland also left last year. The private equity firm Key Capital Partners invested £5m in Dwell in August 2010.

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