Home furnishings: Kidderminster

With the housing market at best stagnating, money in short supply, and a nervousness about what the future holds, many home owners are putting their moving plans on hold and opting instead for improving what they have. Certain parts of the DIY and home furnishings sectors are doing well as a result, with sales on the rise.

One of the more expensive parts of any interior design project, however, is carpets, and perhaps for this reason news among carpet retailers is far from positive. One of the best-known names – Carpetright – is certainly one retailer that is struggling to manage its way through the recession, and was recently obliged to close a number of its stores.

A statement from its senior management did not anticipate the market making any drastic improvements in the near future with some estimating that the carpet market had decreased in value by approximately 15-20% within a 12-month period.

Whereas Carpetright is still in there and fighting, others have not been so fortunate, and have sadly lost their battle for survival. One such company is Woven Carpets of Kidderminster Limited, based in Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire. Woven Carpets is a designer and manufacturer, as the name suggests, of woven carpets, and was originally founded in 1934. The business recognised the impact of the global financial crisis and restructured in 2010 with a new management team focusing on the contract market sector only, specialising in small batch production, high quality be-spoke designs with the service and attention to detail.

Despite the ability to produce carpets 24/7, finding new orders was tough, and at the end of February the firm was obliged to throw in the towel, with debts of more than £700,000. Assistance was sought from SFP’s Daniel and Simon Plant – both licensed members of the Insolvency Practitioners’ Association – who were appointed Joint Administrators on 24th February 2012.

The company’s difficulties were attributed primarily to cash-flow problems, says Simon Plant, Group Partner, SFP: “Lack of cashflow prompted by a falling order book finally sounded the death knell for this once proud company,” he says. “Despite our best efforts we have not been able to turn the business around or find a willing buyer, and the assets of the company are now being sold.”

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