Furniture website Houseology collapses into administration with 23 job losses
Customers waiting for orders are being advised to contact administrators
Friday, 24th January 2020, 9:28 pm
Houseology has now ceased trading (Photo: houseology.com)
Scottish online furniture retailer Houseology has gone into administration, with the immediate loss of 23 jobs.
The Glasgow-based company, which has previously attracted the backing of high-profile investors such as ex-Tesco chairman Sir Terry Leahy, has ceased trading after “exceptionally poor” Christmas trading.
Customers still waiting for orders or refunds have been advised to contact administrators at advisory firm Leonard Curtis.
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Commercial business to keep trading
However the board of the company including chairman Shane Corstophine, a former Skyscanner executive, are likely to keep their jobs as the company’s commercial business Bureau Workspace continues to trade.
Houseology was founded in 2010, selling designer branded furniture, lighting and accessories. In 2016 it acquired Edinburgh-based Bureau, a commercial furniture consultancy. Bureau’s founder Andy Russell was then installed as chief executive of the enlarged group.
Alongside Sir Terry, other high-profile investors in the company have included serial entrepreneur Bill Dobbie and Blackcircles.com founder Mike Welch.
‘Exceptionally poor’ trading
Bosses said “exceptionally poor e-commerce trading across the Christmas period and January” had pushed its consumer-facing brand to the brink and it would now focus exclusively on the business-to-business side.
Accounts for Houseology Design Group show the company’s losses have been widening for several years, with the latest available filings showing a loss of £9.4m in 2018.
Joint Administrator Stuart Robb said: “Unfortunately, having assessed the Company’s trading and financial performance, it was not possible to continue to trade its e-commerce business, Houseology.com and, as such, 23 employees have been made redundant with immediate effect.”
Assets to be sold off
Directors of the company said in a statement that the administration of Houseology was in the “best interest” of the group moving forward.
They added “we are confident that the group’s assets will prove attractive to a buyer in the days and weeks to come”.
Sources close to the situation told i that the employees being made redundant had not been paid and would have to apply to the government scheme to recoup lost wages.
The demise of the company reflects the wider pressure on furniture retailers, with even large companies like Laura Ashley and John Lewis & Partners seeing declines as consumers hold off on big-ticket spending.