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Norfolk Business Awards 2018

Furniture brand to disappear next year after sofa giant snaps up assets

PUBLISHED: 09:22 27 December 2017 | UPDATED: 15:01 27 December 2017

Sewing Room ,Multiyork Furnture; Factory at Thetford,Norfolk; Photo: Jerry Daws; Copy:; ©Archant Photographic 2010; 01603 772434

Sewing Room ,Multiyork Furnture; Factory at Thetford,Norfolk; Photo: Jerry Daws; Copy:; ©Archant Photographic 2010; 01603 772434

©Archant Photographic 2010

Multiyork Furniture is set to disappear from the high street after a national sofa group bought its assets, name and several stores – but the future of its East Anglia shops remains in doubt.

The Multiyork offices in Thetford. Picture: Sonya Duncan The Multiyork offices in Thetford. Picture: Sonya Duncan

DFS said it has struck a £1.2m deal to buy eight store leases from administrators of Norfolk-based Multiyork Furniture as well as the intellectual property rights of Multiyork, including the Multiyork trademark, product designs, domain names and marketing databases.

READ: Nearly 550 jobs at risk as Multiyork calls in administrators

Staff from the stores will be offered roles within DFS, but the sites at St Stephens Street, Norwich, Ipswich and Mellis, in Suffolk, were not included among these.

DFS added administrators will stop operating the Multiyork brand, which had its head office and factory in Thetford, after February 18 as part of the deal – bringing an end to a near 40 year history in the region.

It comes after 50-strong store chain Multiyork collapsed in late November, putting more than 500 jobs at risk.

DFS, which said it was saving about 35 jobs, will convert six of the bought stores into the Sofa Workshop brand and two will trade as DFS.

Gill Stewart, chief executive of Sofa Workshop, said: “We very much look forward to welcoming the sales colleagues from Multiyork as part of our network of experienced store teams.”

Ian Filby, chief executive of DFS, added: “We are pleased by this positive outcome, which offers a clear opportunity to accelerate our growth plans for Sofa Workshop, as it continues to go from strength to strength.”

The company was founded in 1978, originally operating in the Old Mill site in the village of Mellis, in Suffolk.

It moved its factory and head office to Thetford in 1992, where it produces hundreds of pieces of furniture each week, and was bought by the Wade Furniture Group in 1995.

In its most recently published accounts the firm reported a sales rise to £50.4m for the 53 weeks ending October 2 2016, up from £47.8m the year before.

Pre-tax profits rose to £479,000 for the period, a turnaround from a loss of £714,000 the year before.

However, despite this change in fortunes administrators Duff & Phelps said the company found trading difficult, with economic uncertainty and rising commodity prices taking their toll.

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