Leading retailer BetterBathrooms has gone into administration with the loss of hundreds of jobs.
Philip Pierce and Gary Blackburn of FRP Advisory were appointed as joint administrators of Betterbathrooms (UK) on Friday – sending shockwaves through the industry.
The Greater Manchester-headquartered business, which operated nationwide out of 13 showrooms and two trade counters, ceased trading with immediate effect.
Phil Pierce said: “The challenges facing the UK retail industry are well known and are putting immense pressure on businesses operating in the sector.
“Unfortunately, BetterBathrooms has suffered from severe cashflow difficulties and an extended period of soft trading, which has forced the business into administration.
“Without significant investment or the cash to continue trading, the difficult decision was made to cease operations.
“We will be working with all the affected staff to support their claims through the Redundancy Payments Service during this difficult time.
“We know that customers will also be particularly concerned, and they should email [email protected] with their details.”
Several disgruntled customers took to social media to complain when deliveries didn’t arrive and calls were going straight through to answerphone.
BetterBathrooms was founded by award-winning entrepreneur Colin Stevens in 2001 but he left the business in November 2017.
As a teenager he’d wanted to be a professional golfer and recognised the value of online trading when a chance comment by his mum changed his life.
He was already selling golf equipment through the internet when his mum, who worked in the bathroom industry, suggested selling bathroom products online as well.
Stevens initially laughed off the idea but within 24 hours of listing his first set of taps on eBay they sold, encouraging him to invest in fixtures and fittings. In 2001 Betterbathrooms.com was born from his back bedroom when he was 22.
BetterBathrooms sealed a £10m investment from Business Growth Fund (BGF) in 2013 for a 30 per cent stake to fuel the company’s ambitious expansion plans.
The company’s had a strong focus on providing excellent customer service under Stevens, winning 24 awards. However the founder left in November 2017 after 16 years and on Friday the business that he founded went into administration.