A historic Birmingham retailer founded more than a century ago has been placed into administration.
High-end furniture chain Lee Longlands has appointed financial services firm Duff & Phelps as administrator while it continues to battle the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown.
A statement from Duff & Phelps said the move was necessary to protect the retailer but reassured customers it was business as usual and that orders would be fulfilled.
Lee Longlands was founded in Birmingham in 1902 by Robert Lee and George Longland and they opened their first store at 304 Broad Street, taking advantage of its location next to the canal to bring in timber.
Initially selling antiques, the pair later began manufacturing their own cabinets and in 1912 purchased the first-ever motorised delivery vehicle before moving to the site of the company’s current head office and flagship store at 224 Broad Street in 1932.
It now has sites across the Midlands in Abingdon, Cheltenham, Derby, Kidderminster and Leamington Spa which have all reopened.
Director Robert Lee, who is the fourth generation of the founding family to run the company, was part of a team which carried out a management buyout in 2015.
Just a few months later it acquired the Furniture Barn chain out of administration.
Mr Lee 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 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.”
Matt Ingram, joint administrator from Duff & Phelps, added: “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 the appointment of administrators has been necessary demonstrates the devastating financial impact that this pandemic will leave in its wake.
“This is a firm with a sound financial proposition.
“Being unable to trade for almost three months has severely disrupted its working capital cycle.
“We will be focusing on restructuring its cash flow and exiting the administration period as soon as possible.”