Axminster Carpets has cut 300 jobs after the iconic retailer went into administration, adding to the list of recent retail casualties which included HMV, Jessops, and Republic which has seen some hope with Sports Direct buying a few of its stores. Duff & Phelps, Axminster’s administrators will downscale carpet manufacturing and end yarn production at Axminster and Buckfast and assess the financial position of the collapsed carpet firm. The job cuts mean that only 100 staff will remain with the company at its two factory outlet stores during the administration process. The Devon-based firm, which dates back 250 years, blamed the collapse on a sharp rise in raw material prices and economic difficulties.
The company would attempt to fulfill existing customer orders where possible, Axminster’s administrators said, while its main suppliers have offered their continued support for the business. East Devon District Council said staff from its benefits team were to work with JobCentre Plus to ensure the laid off employees received any help they needed.The Axminster Job Club and the Citizens Advice Bureau would also be involved in helping job seekers axed from Axminster.
Axminster’s administration prompted more than 6,000 people to sign a petition calling for Devon’s biggest employer to be saved. Axminster has a rich history and it is saddening to see an iconic retailer collapse. Carpet making in the Devon town dates back to 1755 but the present company was founded in 1937. The original Axminster carpet was laid in Brighton Pavilion as well as bought by King George III and Queen Charlotte. Axminster’s products are now found in a number of Britain’s stately homes.
The private equity firm Carlyle, which owns the Axminster carpet manufacturer Brintons, is likely to strike a takeover deal with Axminster. Duff & Phelps administrator Benjamin Wiles said, “We recognise the importance of the business to the local community and will be seeking to work closely with management and all key stakeholders to restructure the business where possible, including the possibility of selling all or part of the business.”