Mystery as Mark Elliot furniture shops in Norwich, Southwold, Holkham and Bury St Edmunds launch closing down sales

Mystery surrounds the fate of a well-known luxury furniture business after it unveiled closing down sales across its seven branches.

The EDP understands that managers at Mark Elliot furniture - which has shops in Norwich, Holkham, Southwold and Bury St Edmunds - were told on Monday to start the closing down sales and that they would be made redundant when the shops closed.

Mark Elliot makes bespoke armchairs, sofas, dining tables and chairs, cabinets and sideboards from a factory in Beccles, which are sold in the stores across East Anglia.

Customers have been told that their orders will be honoured and staff told that their wages will be paid.

But it is not clear if the shop closures will affect the factory side of the business.

The company was not prepared to comment on the situation except to confirm that all the stores would close.

A member of staff at one shop told the EDP: 'I only knew when the posters went up. It is a real shame, because it is the end of an era. Bigger brands than us have gone, but business is business. The response from customers has been emotional. Everyone knows what Mark Elliot is. It has got such a presence on the high street. We do not know anymore than what I've told customers.'

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The company started in 1987 in a small section of the workshops of the world renowned International Boatbuilding Training Centre, in Oulton Broad, Suffolk.

But the Mark Elliot brand has a chequered history. Mark Elliot Furniture Limited went into administration in July 2010 and was bought by turnaround business specialists SKG trading as MEF Manufacturing Ltd securing 64 jobs with plans to double the number of stores in a national expansion.

But Companies House documents show that MEF Manufacturing Ltd went into administration again on August 30 last year and was sold to ME Beccles Ltd and ME Stamford Ltd.

The company also has shops in Cheltenham, Monmouth and Stamford.

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