Leading UK furniture maker collapses into administration

Triumph Furniture Ltd, one of the UK’s largest furniture manufacturers, has collapsed following a sudden drop in sales, with the loss of over 250 jobs

Begbies Traynor partners Huw Powell and Paul Wood, together with insolvency director Katrina Orum, have been appointed as joint administrators.

The South Wales company, with bases in Merthyr Tydfil and Dowlais, entered into administration after being unable to reduce its operating costs following an unprecedented fall in sales in the course of the last 10 weeks.

Established in 1946, the family-run business went on to supply a network of over 600 office furniture resellers and is a key supplier to central government. Triumph has been a major employer in Merthyr Tydfil, supporting some 252 jobs across its two sites. It previously went into administration in 2011, when the company was saved by a management buyout.

Following the latest collapse, 13 of the company’s employees are being retained in the short term to assist the administrators with their duties.

The company’s most recent accounts show a loss of £342,978 for the period ended 3 June 2018, compared to a profit of £66,006 in the previous year. The strategic report said the deterioration in financial performance was largely attributable to delayed implementation of new government contracts, which affected both sales and margin.

Activity on one contract did not gain traction until spring 2018, with Triumph Furniture continuing to pay for skilled staff and overheads in the interim. Lost public sector sales resulted in lost margin of £401,000, accounting for 2.2% of total turnover. Overheads were also up by 2.13%.

While the report said the order book and profitability ‘looked strong going forward’, it also referenced uncertain UK trading conditions for the second year running, largely attributable to Brexit.

Andrew Jackson, CEO of Triumph Furniture, said: ‘The family is devastated by this appalling outcome and are extremely concerned for the welfare of all Triumph employees and their families at this terrible time.

‘The business has suffered a rapid and catastrophic collapse in orders since the middle of July, which has been impossible to recover from, despite every effort.’

Huw Powell, partner at Begbies Traynor in Cardiff, said: ‘It is especially sad to see such a prominent business fail when there are so many redundancies involved. We know this will be devastating news for those concerned.

‘Attempts were made to secure major customer backing and additional funding to support a restructure or to sell the business as a going concern but due to the speed at which order levels reduced, these efforts ultimately proved unsuccessful before funding ran out.

‘We are now working with all staff affected to help them access support from Careers Wales via the Welsh Government’s ReAct programme.’

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