Manchester home owners in limbo after Homeform collapse

By Steven Oldham

Home owners who ordered new kitchens and bathrooms from the crisis-hit Homeform group are no closer to finding out if they will get any refund, a week after they announced they were calling in administrators.

The company, whose portfolio includes high street brands Moben and Dolphin, is owned by private equity group Sun Capital Partners and has warned that it could take another week before administrators are appointed.

They are looking to sell the Moben and Dolphin brands as a going concern, but it is unclear what will happen to people who have already ordered – and paid for – kitchens and bathrooms.

Homeform, who originate from Manchester, also own bedroom firm Sharps and Kitchens Direct.  A deal to save the latter has fallen through, although they are striving to save Sharps.

Janey Lomax, 36 of Salford, and her partner Brian Wheeldon, 43 had paid Moben a deposit on a new kitchen just two weeks ago.

She said: “We’ve paid out £4,800 for something we might not get.  The kitchen we ordered was beautiful.”

Janey and Brian had fell in love with a kitchen worth £11,200, which featured self-closing cupboards and a breakfast bar.

“We hope to God that someone comes in and helps us.  Who in this day and age can afford to give away nearly five grand?,” she added.

1,300 people are employed in showrooms nationwide, with a further 1,500 staff used to fit kitchens and bathrooms.

The demise of Homeform comes at a bad time for high street retailers, rivalling the disastrous 2008/2009 High Street collapse which claimed Woolworths, zavvi,  and Adams.

All in the last fortnight,  furniture store Habitat and discount department store TJ Hughes both calling in administrators, with chocolate manufacturers Thorntons also announcing 120 shop closures in the next three years. 

Women’s fashion chain Jane Norman was also on the verge of going under before a rescue deal was announced today by The Edinburgh Woollen Mill.

This ever growing list of company failures will not boost already-low customer confidence on Manchester’s streets, with Clinton Cards also rumoured to be struggling and restructuring their business.

No-one representing Homeform was available for comment.

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