Employee Engagement

UK chain Bathstore has called in administrators putting the future of more than 500 staff at risk. The bathroom specialist will stay open while administrator BDO tries to find a buyer for the 135-strong chain.

The decision comes “after several months of difficult trading, and the failure of ongoing talks to find a buyer for the business,” BDO said.

The chain is owned by American billionaire Warren Stephens since he backed a management buyout in 2014.

Outstanding customer orders will be fulfilled if stock is available, but all installation services have ceased immediately. Affected customers can find information on the company’s website.

“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,” BDO partner Ryan Grant said.

The company employs 531 people across its 135 stores and head office.

Bathstore’s administration is the latest piece of bad news for the UK’s High Streets, which have been forced to close stores or collapsed as consumers cut back on spending on big ticket-items such as sofas or bathrooms.

In March, BetterBathrooms, the country’s largest independent bathroom retailer, was forced to call in administrators.

Last year, bed chain Warren Evans collapsed, while other furniture firms such as Feather & Black fell into administration before being rescued.

“Consumers’ discretionary spending power remains under pressure and the reality is, that with only a gradual return to solid growth in real incomes expected, the market environment is likely to remain extremely challenging for most retailers,” Helen Dickinson, chief of the British Retail Consortium, warned last month.

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