Sofa Workshop goes into administration

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The Independent Online

A sofa manufacturer which employs 170 people across 30 UK stores has gone into administration after seeing order numbers plunge, it was confirmed today.

The Sofa Workshop Limited specialises in bespoke, handmade sofas but has been struggling to fill its order books in the current housing market downturn, administrators Leonard Curtis said.

It was founded in 1985 with a store in Maidstone, Kent and has grown to a business with a turnover last year of £30 million.

The company offered a range of sofa designs that could be modified to suit customers and were hand made by craftsmen in traditional UK-based workshops.

An offer to buy the business, saving jobs and protecting existing customer orders, is currently being looked at by Leonard Curtis.

Administrator Neil Bennett said: "The original business model for Sofa Workshop was excellent. The product range is tightly focused with a mix of classic and modern styles which can readily be altered to suit individual customers' requirements, while the stores have been carefully positioned to take the best advantage of that particular market.

"However in a housing market downturn, such as we are suffering at the moment, people are not moving - and they don't seem to be re-furnishing either.

"This is a good business, with an excellent reputation in a niche market. We have received several expressions of serious interest including an offer which is currently being evaluated. We are very hopeful of being able to conclude a sale in the next few days that will protect as many jobs as possible and of course fulfil all the outstanding customer orders."