Troubled furniture group resumes trading

Furniture stores owned by collapsed retailer Courts were due to reopen today under their new management.

Retail turnaround specialist SB Capital was set to begin trading at the group's 88 outlets, 14 of which it has bought from administrators KPMG Corporate Recovery.

KPMG has failed to find a buyer for the other 74 stores as a going concern and appears set to close them with the reported loss of about 2,000 jobs, although the administrator has not confirmed that.

It has already made 200 staff redundant at Courts' head office in Morden, Surrey.

KPMG closed all the stores following Courts' administration after customers angry about not having their furniture delivered became aggressive with shop staff.

SB Capital, which holds stakes in Land of Leather and Furnitureland, has agreed to take options to buy 14 of the shops by February 20.

It has also agreed to trade and to wind down the rest of Courts' 88 stores by that date, after which point the administrators will decide their future. Courts employs about 2,500 people.

The stores were shut after a small number of shoppers worried about orders threatened staff and caused damage.

KPMG has said 4,000 people who paid in full for furniture at the chain's stores or warehouse would have it delivered.

All remaining customers who paid in full would receive their original order where possible, or would be able to choose an alternative item of the same value.

Those customers who had paid by deposit would be offered an alternative item less 10% discount, while others would have a claim against their credit card companies.

Courts was unable to deliver goods not already in stock as it has no money to pay the manufacturers.

Administrators are advising customers who paid by credit card to contact their provider to seek a refund.

The administration does not affect Courts Overseas, Courts Group International, Courts World Wide Purchases or any of Courts overseas operations, which have separate boards, management, suppliers and funding and are continuing to trade as normal.

Comments