Blow for Wigan staff of Bathstore as company goes into administration

The store on Caroline Street
The store on Caroline Street

The future of staff at the Wigan branch of retailer Bathstore has been thrown into doubt after the company went into administration.

The business, which employs 531 staff across 135 stores, will continue trading while administrators at BDO seek a rescue buyer.

Outstanding customer orders will be fulfilled subject to available stock, but all installation services have ceased immediately.

The collapse comes after a failed sales process for the business, which has been owned by American billionaire Warren Stephens since he backed a management buyout in 2014.

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."

The failure is the latest blow for the British high street, which is still reeling from a growing list of administrations and store closures.

Retailers of big-ticket items such as furniture and home fittings have faced particular challenges as consumers hold back on making major purchases amid economic uncertainty.

In the home and furniture sector, Carpetright was among those to shutter stores and ask for rent reductions last year.

Meanwhile, bed maker Warren Evans and furniture seller Fabb Sofas both went into administration in 2018, though the former reappeared in a new form online earlier this year.