KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-news - since 2002
31st August 2020
We strongly recommend viewing KBzine full size in your web browser. Click our masthead above to visit our website version.
BiKBBI works to ease pain of Bathstore administration
Following the news that Bathstore has entered administration, The British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation has issued two statements; the latter confirming that it is liaising with both Bathstore and the Insolvency Practitioner that has been appointed. The objective of this liaison is to support those involved in a number of ways. The statement says:
"For our installer members, our strategy is two-fold. Firstly, it's to act as a conduit for information, helping them to navigate the complicated process of recompense for monies owed. We have communicated with members on six occassions since the news first broke.
We are sad to report that we have received over 100 updates from members, representing around a quarter of those potentially affected, who are collectively owed in excess of £1m by Bathstore for completed installation work. We expect this number to rise dramatically over the coming days as our members continue to update us with their stake.
Of those members who have updated us so far, the highest individual creditor is owed over £90,000, with the majority being owed between £2,500 & £10,000. Clearly this is a life-changing situation for many.
We often understand the impact on staff involved in these situations, but forget the impact on micro SME suppliers. BiKBBI is committed to ensure these people and their families voices are heard at the very highest level.
Secondly, we will support our members by connecting them with new opportunities. The threat of losing money is one thing, but this situation will affect their future order book, with installers often being booked for 8-12 weeks in advance. We are working with some great retailers and strategic partners and thankfully the general UK skills shortage will prove to be an asset in this scenario. Great installers are in demand and we will ensure that our members are connected with those businesses and individuals seeking a professional installation service.
Furthermore, our find-a-member website, which is receiving a high volume of consumer visitors, will allow consumers to connect directly with our members and we hope that this will prove useful to those affected. We have invited Bathstore / BDO to reference this facility on their website and await their response."
BiKBBI CEO Damian Walters commented by saying: "Once again it's the little guy that's hit the most. Honest, hardworking people who are the backbone of our economy are once again victim of a scenario which is clearly way beyond their control. I give my personal assurances to each and every one of them and their families that we'll do everything in our power to ensure their voice is heard.
"We have requested meetings with the appointed administrators at BDO and will be meeting Ministers to discuss the available support to our members and their customers. I have spoken to our own Patron Stephen Metcalfe MP, and we are working on a strategy to seek government support on this matter - This will go right to the top and I will not rest until notice is taken and action is had".
Almost 600 jobs are at risk but the company's stores are still open for business, although installation services can no longer be booked.
Ryan Grant and Antony David Nygate were appointed Joint Administrators of Bathstore.com on 26th June 2019. Queries should be addressed to them in writing at BDO, 5 Temple Square, Temple Street, Liverpool, L2 5RH.
Ryan said: "Despite significant investment into the business over the past five years, Bathstore has struggled to overcome the well-documented challenges facing the UK retail sector. The appointment was made after several months of difficult trading, and the failure of ongoing talks to find a buyer for the business.
"Bathstore is continuing to trade in administration whilst the administrators seek a buyer."
It is understood that Bathstore's owner, the American billionaire Warren Stephens, who backed a management buyout in 2014, was unwilling to invest any more money in an attempt to save the business.
Welwyn Garden City, Herts-based Bathstore was founded in 1990 by Patrick Riley and Nico de Beer, who opened the first shop in Croydon. A pre-tax loss of £22m was recorded in the year to 31st July 2017 with sales of £141 million, with exceptional costs of £11million, including a £5.4million write-down on the value of the company's stores and leases. In 2018, Warren Stephens spearheaded what was supposed to have been a turnaround, with a £15million loan and an extension on the maturity of previous loans to the end of July 2019. A new chief executive, Ian Herrett, joined in May 2018 from the builders' merchants Wolseley UK.
29th June 2019