Deal saves 150 furniture store jobs

Store closing noticeThe co-founder of furniture retailer Dwell has kept the ailing business alive by agreeing a deal to rescue a number of stores and the jobs of 150 staff.

Aamir Ahmad, who founded Dwell with family and friends in 2003 but left last year following its sale to a private equity firm, stepped in after the business went into administration last month, resulting in the closure of 23 stores.

Securing the jobs of around half of Dwell's 300-strong workforce, the deal with administrator Duff & Phelps will result in the reopening of three outlets in London on Saturday - at Tottenham Court Road and the two Westfield sites - as well as at the Lakeside centre in Essex and Barton Square, Manchester.

Talks with other landlords are under way with the hope that additional stores and jobs can be saved. The Dwell online store is also due to reopen.

Mr Ahmad, who is returning to the business as chief executive, has promised to try and help customers who have outstanding orders.

He said: "Our priority lies with the customers and suppliers who have been let down by the former management. We are working hard to try and resolve the issues, in particular outstanding customer orders.

"Although we are not legally obliged to, we are doing everything we can to find a solution for customers who have lost out. Our primary goal is to help customer and suppliers regain their trust in the Dwell brand."

The upmarket retailer, previously majority owned by private equity firm Key Capital Partners, went into administration after it struggled amid sluggish consumer confidence and a weak housing market.

The Milton Keynes-based company started trading from a single store in Balham, south London, before expanding in the south of England and in recent years in Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow.

John Whitfield, joint administrator at Duff & Phelps, said: "We are delighted to have been able to conclude an agreement that results in not only the continuation of the brand, but saves many of the employees' roles as well as securing the best outcome for suppliers. The new management will now be in the position to work with customers to try and identify the best solution for everyone concerned."

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