Homebase purchases Bathstore out of administration

26 July 2019 Consultancy.uk 2 min. read
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Homebase has successfully secured a deal to acquire Bathstore, rescuing the brand from administration. The sale was overseen by administrators from professional services firm BDO.

Founded in 1990 by Patrick Riley and Nico de Beer, who opened the first shop in Croydon, Bathstore went on to become the UK’s biggest bathroom specialist. Bathstore has 132 stores and 529 staff, 405 of whom are shop workers, while 124 are in the head office in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.

Despite its size, though, Bathstore has been hit by worsening trading conditions in recent times. The loss-making company was subsequently forced to appoint administrators from consultancy BDO at the start of July, putting hundreds of jobs at risk. According to BDO, the retailer was set to continue to trade in the hope it could be sold as a going concern.

Those hopes have since been realised, and BDO has confirmed the sale of Bathstore to British home improvement retailer Homebase. The move sees Homebase take over 44 Bathstore stores and save the jobs of 154 employees – while the remaining 90 stores not being transferred to Homebase will “continue to trade for a number of weeks while remaining display stock is sold off.”

Homebase purchases Bathstore out of administration

“In a difficult situation, we have been able to secure the future of the Bathstore brand and the transfer of 44 stores to Homebase to maximise realisations for creditors and protect as many jobs as possible,” BDO Business Restructuring Partner Ryan Grant said.

While the news does rescue the Bathstore brand from administration, then, it does little to clarify the futures of several hundred employees at the company. Prior to today’s announcement, 89 job cuts had been carried out at Bathstore’s headquarters. 286 employees are subsequently unaccounted for in this announcement, and still may well face redundancy once the stock sale concludes.

Homebase has encountered financial woes of its own in recent years. Amid the sustained pressures currently plaguing British retailers, the company was forced to launch a CVA in 2018, following Australian conglomerate Wesfarmers sale of the DIY chain to restructuring specialists Hilco.

Elsewhere in the UK’s struggling high street, rival firm Better Bathrooms similarly fell into administration earlier in the year, seeing 325 staff members made redundant. This left 10 head office and warehouse function staff, who were retained on a temporary basis to assist with the sale of the firm’s assets by FRP Advisory.