280 jobs go as Hull furniture firm suddenly closes as administrators brought in

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 14 Mar 2019

A Hull furniture company which employs nearly 300 people has closed suddenly, with all jobs lost.

Staff at Kingstown Group, based in Leads Road, east Hull, were told yesterday morning. Administrators handling the failure have said a drop in sales and "challenging market conditions" led to the decision to shut its doors.

The family business, which has been running for more than 40 years, designs and manufactures furniture for living rooms and bedrooms.

The Kingstown Group was made up of two trading arms – Kingstown Furniture and Consort Furniture.

Kingstown Furniture in Hull

Phil Deyes, of Leonard Curtis Business Rescue & Recovery, said: “The market conditions faced by these two companies has been extremely challenging.

“Both have seen turnover fall dramatically, impacted mainly by a sharp decline in discretionary spending by UK consumers. “Economic uncertainty continues to influence spending decisions, with little foreseeable improvement in demand.’’

Despite attempts by the company to restructure operations and continue trading, administrators have now taken control of both businesses and are in the process of winding down operations.

Read more: Job losses at Hull firm 18 months after opening amid legal battle with rival

Mr Deyes said: “We are now focused on closing down operations, working with the customers to fulfil orders where we can and helping all employees work through the implications of being made redundant as a result of the immediate cessation of trade.

‘’We are also seeking urgent expressions of interest in the remaining assets of the Group, including the Kingstown and Consort brands, intellectual property rights and associated order book.”

Kingstown Furniture is in Leads Road in Hull (Image: Hull Live)

Anyone seeking to make an expression of interest can contact the administrators via zack.minshull@leonardcurtis.co.uk.

Kevin McGarry, a maintenance electrician at the firm, which employed 280, said: “Staff arrived at work as usual this morning, then suddenly everyone got called into a meeting.

“We were told the company was closing down, and we were all being made redundant. I think people knew the business was not doing too great at the moment, but not how bad things really were.

"People were just in complete shock. There were people in tears not knowing what they are going to do next.

“It is not so bad for me, because I am 63, but there are a lot of young lads who work here who have got families to support and mortgages to pay. “Everyone was just told to queue up to receive a form to fill in to hopefully get some money.

“I have been working here for seven years, so this has come as a complete shock to me.”

In the year up to April 2018, the business made a loss of almost £400,000. A public sale of stock was recently held, staff said.

Anthony Brown and Carl Metheringham, who worked at Kingstown Furniture(Image: Hull Live)

Directors at the furniture firm admitted in that report that the market it worked in remained “challenging,” but said “strategies were in place to reduce the impact of these risks”. They also said the fact sales at the business had risen – from £4.7m in 2017 to £5.7m – gave them cause for optimism moving forwards.

Anthony Brown, who worked at the firm, said: “No one knew this was coming. We all just came to work like normal.

“The way the company has handled it isn’t right. There was no warning. We just got hauled into a meeting at round 11am, and got told that was it. “I’ve got bills to pay and a family – I’ve got no idea what I’m going to do.”

Read more: Interserve latest news as boss issues administration warning for company

Kingstown Furniture was capable of supplying more than 7,000 units every week.

The business said on its website its future vision was “to continue to be a leading manufacturer of ready-assembled bedroom and lounge furniture.” It has been contacted for a comment.

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