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Historic furniture store chain goes into administration after 118 years

By John Corser | Birmingham | Business | Published:

A historic furniture store chain that has been in existence for 118 years has gone into administration.

The Kidderminster store. Pic: Google Street View

The directors of Lee Longlands, which can trace its origins back to 1902, have taken steps to place the company into administration.

They say it was necessary to protect the business from the devastating impact of the coronavirus lockdown but are reassuring customers it is very much business as usual.

Family-owned Lee Longlands, which employs about 130 people, made the announcement as it reopened its showrooms for trading following the enforced closure due to the pandemic.

The business operates showrooms in Birmingham, Kidderminster, Leamington Spa, Abingdon, Derby and Cheltenham.

It has operated its flagship art deco Birmingham showroom in Broad Street, city centre, since 1932.

Joint administrator Matt Ingram, of advisory firm Duff & Phelps, confirmed his appointment was as a direct result of the coronavirus lockdown.

He said: “Lee Longlands is a household name across the Midlands and has a fantastic reputation for quality and service. It is a long-standing profitable business and the fact that the appointment of administrators has been necessary, demonstrates the devastating financial impact that this pandemic will leave in its wake.”

Following the appointment of administrators, the stores are now to reopen and customers awaiting deliveries are being told that their orders will be fulfilled, and the company will now start booking delivery dates and will be complying with social distancing rules.

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Robert Lee, who is the fourth generation of family stewardship of the firm, said: “For almost 120 years our family business and our employees have put our customers at the heart of everything we do.

"That will not change. We are very much open for business as usual and our customers can be assured, we will continue to give them the highest levels of service as we restore our short-term finances and get back to work.

"Now that the coronavirus restrictions are being eased and we can begin to operate again, we are working extremely hard, under the highest level of safety standards, to start deliveries again for all our customers and get our showrooms open so that the public can once again furnish their homes with our fantastic quality products.”

Mr Ingram added: “This is a firm with a sound financial proposition. Being unable to trade for almost three months has severely disrupted its working capital cycle but working with management and with the support of the company’s suppliers, we will be focusing on restructuring its cash flow and exiting the administration period as soon as possible.”

Customers with questions or queries regarding their orders are asked to contact Lee Longlands customer services.

John Corser

By John Corser
Business Reporter - @JohnCorser_Star

Express & Star Business Editor at head office, Wolverhampton. Welcomes all news of companies and business organisations.

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