goes into administration, leading to hundreds of job cuts

Online furniture retailer has been bought by Next, but the deal does not include staff

The store in Charing cross Road, London, UK. PA
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About 400 UK jobs have been cut by after the online furniture retailer went into administration on Wednesday.

The company employed 573 people and said its brand, websites and intellectual property have been bought by fashion rival Next following the insolvency.

However, the deal with Next does not include staff.

Administrators from advisory firm PwC have confirmed the move will result in 320 redundancies, while a further 79 employees who had resigned and were working their notice have also been forced to leave the business immediately.

Employees have said they were updated on the administration by the company at about 9am on Wednesday.

“I would like to sincerely apologise to everyone — customers, employees, supplier partners, shareholders and all other stakeholders — impacted as a result of the business going into administration,” said Made chief executive Nicola Thompson.

“Over the past months, we have fought tooth and nail to rapidly resize the cost base, re-engineer the sourcing and stock model, and try every possible avenue to raise fresh financing and avoid this outcome.”

A sign in the window of the store in Charing cross Road. PA

“It is with real regret that redundancies will need to be made,” said Zelf Hussain, joint administrator and partner at PwC.

“We would like to thank all the employees for their hard work.

“We will continue to support those affected at this difficult time, including assisting the HR team’s efforts to secure staff new roles.”

Administrators added that a “small number” of workers have been kept on by the company to ensure an orderly closure.

One employee, who did not want to be named, told the PA news agency they were given “a very impersonal speech”, which laid blame for the collapse on market conditions.

“Market conditions only work as an excuse up to a certain point — it’s unfair to blame someone specifically but the responsibility solely has to be at the top,” they said.

“I think people in the head office will have no problem in finding another role.

“I really worry for the customer service and warehouse staff. It’s heartbreaking.”

Made had already halted new orders but had previously said it was seeking to fulfil all previous orders.

It said on Wednesday that close to 4,500 customer orders in the UK and Europe are set to be delivered.

However, it added that a large number of orders are still in their production stage in East Asia and cannot be completed and shipped to customers due to the administration.

It is a sharp downturn for the company, which launched on the London Stock Exchange less than two years ago with a £775 million ($879m) price tag and promises of accelerated growth and leading the online furniture market.

The website is seen on a smartphone. Reuters

“Having run an extensive process to secure the future of the business, we are deeply disappointed that we have reached this point and how it will affect all our stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers and shareholders,” said Made chairwoman Susanne Given.

“We appreciate and deeply regret the frustration that MDL going into administration will have caused for everyone.”

The writing had been on the wall for several days after Made last month abandoned hopes of finding a buyer to save it and inject the cash it needed to stay afloat.

The company filed a notice to appoint administrators last week after being hit by soaring costs and slowing customer demand.

The retailer has offices in London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, China and Vietnam.

The firm’s shares had already been suspended.

Updated: November 10, 2022, 7:09 AM