Creditors of retailer Mattressman has approved restructuring plans which will see 14 stores close.
The company won the backing of its creditors for the company voluntary arrangement (CVA) which will see it scale back its operation to concentrate on 11 shops around its East Anglian heartland. A CVA is a restructuring process which allows a company to get rid of loss making stories and reduce rents to enable it to carry on trading.
Mattressman first unveiled the plans in June, citing a slump in sales as consumer confidence continued to fall. A total of 84.75% of creditors backed the plans at a meeting on Friday, said Andrew McTear of insolvency experts McTear Williams & Wood, which has been overseeing the process.
Some 130 jobs were put at risk by the announcement of the store closures, which will mainly fall across the Midlands. Mattressman's shops in Norwich, North Walsham, Lowestoft, Dereham, Thetford and March will all remain open, though its Ipswich branch in Upper Brook Street has closed.
Mattressman began as a single store in North Walsham in 2004 and grew to 25 sites across the country from York to the Isle of Wight, but a spate of challenges in the past year added up to a 15% drop in like-for-like sales in April and May, meaning that the company's £1.1m profit in 2017 turned into a £2.6m loss for the year ending in March this year. At the time the CVA was announced, director Andrew Kerry said that "sometimes in business you have to go backwards to go forwards", adding that the restructure was needed to match the changing retail environment. "We have always been very successful online and we are going to concentrate on that and smaller stores in East Anglia which have always worked well," he said. "All our staff are focused on delivering business as usual and we are optimistic about the future."
The high street has endured a torrid first half of 2018 as consumer confidence has fallen away and shoppers have tightened their belts. Rising costs, including the burden of business rates, have been cited as factors as House of Fraser, Marks & Spencer, Mothercare and New Look have announced closures, while Maplin and Toys R Us have closed their doors completely.
10 July 2018