Bathstore, the UK’s biggest bathroom specialist, has collapsed into administration after failing to find a buyer, putting more than 500 jobs at risk.
The loss-making company has appointed administrators at the business services firm BDO, which said the retailer would continue to trade for now in the hope it could be sold as a going concern. So far, administrators have not received any offers.
Bathstore has 132 stores and 529 staff. Most employees – 405 people – are shop workers, while 124 are in the head office in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.
Ryan Grant, the joint administrator, 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 while the administrators seek a buyer.”
He said Bathstore should be able to fulfil the majority of outstanding customer orders, although all installation services have ceased.
Customers will be contacted directly but can also find information on the company’s website.
It is understood that Bathstore’s owner, the American billionaire Warren Stephens, who backed a management buyout in 2014, was unwilling to put in more cash to save the business before this month’s rent day.
The company was founded in 1990 by Patrick Riley and Nico de Beer, who opened the first shop in Croydon.