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Family Firm Heads into Liquidation After 150 Years of Trading

By Jon Munnery
6 June 2022

A family-run business and seller of high-end cookware has entered liquidation after more than 150 years of trading in West Yorkshire.

Huddersfield-based Bower & Child can trace its origins back to 1870 and a shop on Wakefield Road but the business has struggled to survive the travails of the pandemic period.

The company has now begun a process of selling several hundred high-end cookers and woodburning stoves with its directors having decided it was necessary to enter the business into liquidation.

Statements given by the company’s directors said: “It is with very heavy hearts we have had to accept that Bower & Child could not continue trading.

“The unfortunate events of the last two years have finally taken their toll and eroded all our reserves, meaning the business can no longer sustain its viability.”

The directors have also said that they experienced various supply chain issues during the pandemic, which created significant problems while demand was subdued by Covid lockdowns.

According to Yorkshire Live, while there was an uptick in the company’s sales after lockdown ended this year, that positivity proved short-lived and sales slumped again soon after to pre-pandemic levels, with liquidation then becoming unavoidable.

“We would like to thank all our customers, past and present, that have been loyal to us,” Bower & Child’s directors are quoted as saying.

“It is a tragedy that such a long-standing business has had to cease trading in the shadow of these unprecedented times.”

Statements given by the company’s appointed liquidator explained that its cashflow problems eventually turned into unsustainable trading loses which then forced the business into liquidation.

“Many small businesses in the UK are probably only two to three months of weak trading away from potential insolvency and, for businesses operating in specialised retail sectors as this company did, it is particularly true following the pandemic,” the liquidator commented.

For some months during the pandemic, companies were protected from their creditors by emergency Covid-related laws introduced by the government but those measures have largely been rolled back more recently.

The advice from the likes of R3, the UK’s corporate insolvency and restructuring trade body, is for directors of companies concerned about their cashflows and their business’ financial viability to seek advice on liquidation and administration options sooner rather than later.

Jonathan Munnery
Insolvency & Restructuring Expert
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