Lombok forced to shut nine stores

Furniture chain Lombok followed the UK arm of Habitat into administration today in a move resulting in the closure of nine stores.

Management and investors at Angora, the private owner of Lombok, have immediately bought the retailer out of pre-pack administration in a move which will see three stores and one concession remain open.

Stores in Guildford, Hampstead, Brighton, Leamington Spa, Kingston, Wimbledon, Bluewater, Chiswick, Kings Road, London, all closed before administrators Leonard Curtis were appointed.

Lombok's stores in Tottenham Court Road, London, Batley, West Yorkshire, a clearance store in Fulham and its Oxford Street House of Fraser concession all remain open as well as its website.

A spokeswoman for Lombok said a consultation on job losses was under way but could not confirm the number of redundancies expected to be made.

The chain is the latest victim of the consumer downturn, brought on by a toxic combination of high inflation, low wage growth and fears over Government austerity measures.

Lombok, named after the Indonesian island, was founded by Alex Cresswell-Turner, who wanted to develop a range of Eastern- inspired furniture in the UK. The stores sell bedroom, dining room, lounge and office furniture.

Lombok also went through a pre-pack administration in 2009, when current majority owner Privet Capital bought the group.

A Lombok spokeswoman said: "Lombok remains under the control of its directors and continues to trade, with customer orders and deposits placed at all stores unaffected.

"In order to secure the future of Lombok in very challenging trading conditions, Lombok is in the final stages of an essential restructuring which is refocusing the company on its successful online offering and key flagship stores."

The spokeswoman added: "Certain assets are being sold immediately to its management team and existing investors."

The UK side of retail brand Habitat went into administration in June, putting 720 jobs at risk.

A handful of stores were bought by Homebase and Argos owner Home Retail Group.

The retail sector has had a terrible run in 2011, with clothing retailer Jane Norman, Moben kitchens owner HomeForm, department store TJ Hughes and wine merchant Oddbins all entering administration.

Elsewhere, entertainment group HMV, sportswear firm JJB Sports and chocolatier Thorntons have all announced store closures.