Future uncertain for East Anglian dry cleaners Harveys after chain calls in administrators

Liquidators have been working to sell Harveys Specialist Dry Cleaners after the firm went into admin

Liquidators have been working to sell Harveys Specialist Dry Cleaners after the firm went into administration. Picture: Archant Archive - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The fate of a chain of specialist dry cleaners is up in the air after the company brought in administrators following difficult trading.

Harveys Dry Cleaners, with sites at Eaton, Wymondham, Attleborough and Sheringham, went into liquidation with debts of more than £230,000.

Two sets of insolvency practitioners have sought a solution for the firm, with a possible sale now in limbo following a court decision. Its four sites remain in operation while its future is resolved.

Harveys had run into trouble in 2015 when it had agreed to a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) to pay back £80,000 of tax liabilities over five years.

According to compulsory liquidator Jamie Playford, of Leading Corporate Recovery, cost-cutting measures were put in place in January 2016, including closing two outlets and making nine redundancies.

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However, that failed to turn around the business, and the company fell behind on payments and entered liquidation in May of this year, putting a question mark over the future of 13 staff.

Harveys turned over £430,000 at its peak, Mr Playford said.

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He added that competition and changing customer habits had put the business under pressure – circumstances leading to the CVA.

However, before Mr Playford was appointed by Norwich County Court, Andrew McTear of insolvency firm McTear Williams & Wood had taken on the liquidation as a voluntary liquidator – selling the business and its assets to a new firm, JHR Norfolk Limited.

This business is owned by the family of the Harveys' directors but the sale was nullified by the court's decision to bring in Mr Playford.

Currently the sites are running under the new firm and Mr McTear said although the sale had been nullified by the courts he thought an appeal to reinstate it was likely.

Meanwhile, Mr Playford is looking to sell the business and its remaining assets and it is understood a deal could be imminent.

He said: 'It is always sad to see such a long-established business suffer in these difficult trading conditions.

'In order to recoup as much money as possible for creditors, my team and I are seeking a buyer for the business and assets.'

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