Written by: Keith Tully
Published: 20th June 2019
The bathroom retail business Bathstore is facing the prospect of entering administration and potentially putting around 700 jobs in jeopardy.
Reports suggest that the owner of the company is unwilling to inject the cash required to keep it trading from a position of solvency, with advisers having been appointed in recent days to handle what could soon be an administration scenario.
Bathstore is headquartered in Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire and has a total of 168 store locations across the UK.
The business was acquired by the American billionaire Warren Stephens in 2014 after he backed a management buyout process to take control of Bathstore, which was founded initially in 1990 before being bought by the building firm Wolseley in 2003.
Bathstore outlets increased significantly in number from around 33 to 170 during the period when it was owned by Wolseley.
However, like so many high street retail operators, the business has been struggling to remain profitable in recent years, with its latest full-year financial results showing pre-tax losses of £22 million on sales of £141 million.
A new chief executive was installed at the top of the company last year and turnaround plans were implemented with the aid of a loan worth £15 million.
Trading though has remained tough for retailers and not least those selling bathrooms, with one of Bathstore’s main rivals Better Bathrooms having collapsed into administration in March of this year with the loss of 325 jobs.
Bathstore’s entry into administration would be the latest addition to a growing list of retailers to have become insolvent in recent months.
Retailers including House of Fraser, Toys R Us and Maplin all entered administration during the last 18 months, while others including New Look, Debenhams and the Arcadia Group, the owner of Topshop and Topman, all recently entered Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVA).
The women’s and children’s clothing brand Monsoon, which has dozens of stores open across the UK, is also currently in the process of seeking to agree the terms of a CVA rescue deal with its creditors.
Tens of thousands of jobs have been lost across the UK’s retail sector over the course of the past few years.