Made.com, an online furniture retailer, is on a brink of collapse after it filed a notice to appoint administrators following its failure to find a buyer for the business. The BBC reported the company’s shares were suspended on Tuesday (November 1), and it no longer accepts new orders meaning it is now at risk of depleting cash reserves if further funding could not be found.
Launched in 2011, Made.com saw increased sales during the pandemic as many people stayed at home and shopped online. However, global supply chain concerns have hampered the company’s delivery schedules, and the cost-of-living crisis has caused consumers to reduce their purchases of home furnishings. By the end of 2021, it employed over 700 staff with offices in London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, China, and Vietnam.
In a notice posted on its website, Made.com said: “The company is currently exploring all options including an accelerated sale of all parts of the business or it will go into Administration. At the moment, we are not taking new orders. We are able to deliver some outstanding orders and we will provide customers with information about their orders as quickly as possible.
“We appreciate this has been frustrating for all our customers and we are truly, deeply sorry for this situation. We will do everything we can to achieve the best possible outcome for customers, suppliers and staff.”
According to the BBC, a company source said the latest move offers 10 days of breathing space to find new backers or sell all or part of the business. They added the retailer’s board was still "exploring every option available", saying: "They are hopeful they can make some progress." Made.com said it had “received proposals” from interested parties but after announcing that its shares were suspended, the company was likely to be "wound up" and delisted from the stock exchange before being sold on.
In June last year at the height of the pandemic, Made.com was listed on the London Stock Exchange following a surge in growth with a value of £775 million. Meanwhile, sales at the business hit £315 million in 2020, a year-on-year rise of 30%, before hitting £110 million in the first three months of 2021.
Refunds, returns, and cancellations suspended
The business was co-founded by Ning Li and Brent Hoberman, best-known for starting Lastminute.com, as well as Chloe Macintosh and Julien Callède. Ning Li came up with the idea of sourcing directly from designers and manufacturers and selling their furniture on the Made.com website, targeting a computer-savvy audience.
Although Mr. Hoberman is no longer actively involved in the company’s operations, he remains a shareholder, as is Ning Li, who served as chief executive officer until the end of 2016 and is now a non-executive director.
Made.com further said that as a result of the announcement, they are not currently able to handle returns, refunds, or order cancellations. However, they expect to be able to resume processing refunds soon, although no specific timeline has been provided. Affected customers can forward their enquiries to the email addresses listed on its website.