Retail chief Barry Godfrey has vowed to re-employ 15 staff and restock the Godfrey's DIY businesses in Diss and Stowmarket after buying the stores out of liquidation.
Mr Godfrey's company Harvey House Retail purchased the two businesses and their assets as a going concern during a creditors' meeting with insolvency specialist McTear Williams & Wood. The buy-out will now spark a "massive clearance liquidation sale" at the two stores, but question marks still remain over the future of the Godfrey store in Norwich.
News of the sale comes just weeks after Mr Godfrey instructed McTear Williams & Wood to begin the process of winding down the company which had seen its sales and cashflow dwindling due to the knock-on effect of the housing crisis in 2008, poor weather and increased competition from other big name DIY retailers. However, despite the Norwich business struggling to remain viable, both the Diss and Stowmarket stores had been operating profitably.
In a statement Mr Godfrey said "We are pleased to have been successful in buying the Diss and Stowmarket assets from the liquidator and to be able to re-employ about 15 people. We are now working hard to restock the Diss and Stormarket stores and to make way for this we will be running a massive clearance liquidation sale over the next few weeks." However, he added: "The future of the Norwich store remains uncertain."
Godfrey, which last year had a turnover of £5 million warned in December that it planned to downsize, with the loss of up to 20 out of a total of 26 jobs at its Norwich store and up to half of the staff at the stores in diss and Stowmarket, where it employed 14 and 13 people respectively.
Andrew McTear, a partner at McTear Williams & Wood said: "We received keen interest from half a dozen parties in the Diss and Stowmarket stores and set a deadline for offers on the day of the liquidation." He added: "Our job now is to agree creditors' claims and pay a dividend to creditors. In fact since being appointed we have worked around the clock to pay as much of the 50 employees' claims as possible and managed to press the button transferring the funds on day two of the liquidation. This is the first time in my career of over 25 years that we ahve been able to pay employee preferential claims so quickly."
East Anglian Daily Times
6 February 2013