Bathstroe collapses

Ceasing all its installation services, specialist bathroom retailer Bathstore has entered administration, throwing the future of the company, its 135 stores and its 531 employees into doubt.

Selling and installing a vast range of bathing equipment, including accessible bathrooms for disabled and senior customers with its Easy Bathing range, administration had been looming for the retailer after appointing BDO as advisors earlier in the month after failing to seek a buyer.

In recent years, Bathstore had alluded to expanding its presence in the adaptive market, however, commentators in the industry suggested the company lacked the specialist knowledge required to become a dominant player. The latest administration announcement suggests its plans for the industry will now fail to materialise.

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The business will continue trading and says will fulfil outstanding customer orders subject to stock available whilst administrators at BDO seek a rescue buyer for the retailer.

According to the latest accounts filed by Companies House, Bathstore made a pre-tax loss of £22million on sales of £141million in the year to July 31st 2017.

At the end of 2018, Bathstore kicked off a turnaround plan which included taking out a £15 million loan and bringing a new chief executive onboard in response to tough trading conditions.

Ryan Grant, Business Restructuring Partner at BDO, said: “Despite significant investment into the business over the past five years, Bathstore has struggled to overcome the well-documented challenges facing the UK retail sector.

“The appointment was made after several months of difficult trading, and the failure of ongoing talks to find a buyer for the business.”

“Bathstore is continuing to trade in administration, whilst the administrators seek a buyer.”

Bathstore chairman Geoff Battersby had said that the company had struggled to remain competitive in tough trading conditions, citing low consumer confidence, rising costs, as well as the pound sterling devaluation as a result of Brexit.

The company follows a number of high street, bricks and mortar retailers that have collapsed, such as Toys’R’Us and Maplin, or significantly scaled back their operations, including Debenhams and House of Fraser.

Bathstore’s collapse mirrors that of its rival Better Bathrooms, which entered administration in March and led to the loss of 325 jobs.

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