Nosediving online furniture retailer Made.com is considering a sale as part of a strategic review.
The London-headquartered company joined the main market of the London Stock Exchange in June 2021 at a valuation of £775 million, but is worth less than £23m today.
It has failed to stem increasing losses. CEO Nicola Thompson (pictured) cited “unprecedented levels of market disruption and prolonged market volatility” in an email to staff, seen by the FT, which outlined plans to cut more than a third of its workforce. The company also plans to close down its China operations.
Thompson replaced Philippe Chainieux when he quit in February while finance director Adrian Evans exited soon afterwards.
Last month Made.com said it was considering a capital raising to strengthen its balance sheet, but has now decided to conduct a formal review of all strategic options, led by PwC, including a full sale. PwC has also begun a formal sale process, as required by LSE rules.
Other options include debt financing, strategic investment or merger.
The company blamed a decline in discretionary consumer spending – stemming from increased inflation and a steep decline in consumer confidence – and the accompanying ‘headwind’ of deglobalisation and destabilisation of supply chains for the decision.
“These conditions contributed to an increased need to sell goods at a discount in order to address the inventory levels to adjust to the adverse market conditions, negatively impacting gross margin and causing negative operating leverage of fixed costs,” it said.
“MADE’s previous strategy to build up inventories and range availability to improve customer experience and conversion rates through shorter lead times coincided with this steep decline in consumer confidence and resulted in MADE being in an overstocked position, with more cash tied up in working capital.”
The ongoing adverse market conditions have also made it challenging for the group to acquire new customers at financially attractive rates, resulting in higher customer acquisition costs.
It also cited the death of the Queen. “The unexpected events of the past two weeks in the UK compounded the deterioration of trade and the current financial position of the group, impacting its trading stance… the continued uncertainty means the board has concluded that it is appropriate to withdraw its full-year guidance,” it stated.
Made.com was co-founded by entrepreneur Brent Hoberman, founder of Lastminute.com, in 2010. It acquired fellow London firm Trouva, an online marketplace focused on independent bricks-and-mortar boutiques, in May of this year.