News - Midlands

Hooty's warehouse swallowed up by The Range

Ambitious retail chain The Range has bought the stock and assets of Willenhall-based Hooty's as the home, garden and leisure retailer collapsed into administration.

More than 130 staff transferred to The Range which plans to transform the 70,000 sq ft Hooty's warehouse and retail outlet into a new store. However, 26 employees have been made redundant.

Glyn Mummery and Jeremy French, partners of specialist restructuring and advisory firm FRP Advisory, were appointed as joint administrators to Hooty's Supplies Wholesale Ltd on 30 January 2014.

Prior to its collapse, the stock and certain assets were sold to The Range, a rapidly growing Plymouth-headquartered retailer owned by entrepreneur Chris Dawson.

At the time of the sale of the stock and assets, Hooty's had 135 employees all of whom were transferred to The Range before 26 were let go with full settlement payments.

As well as the warehouse and retail outlet site in Willenhall, Hooty's operated two stores in the Midlands, in Birmingham and Kidderminster. These shops were closed prior to the date of the stock sale, while the lease in Willenhall was taken over by The Range.

Glyn Mummery, partner at FRP Advisory, said: "Hooty's was sold to The Range in early January, however, due to a lower than anticipated final sale price of the remaining stock, Hooty's was unable to fulfil its outstanding liabilities to creditors and was placed in to administration.

"Since being appointed as joint administrators, we have worked to realise the remaining assets of the company and once this has been concluded we will be bringing the administration process to an end."

Hooty's had sales of more than £15m in 2012 with a pre-tax profit of about £350,000, according to last set of accounts available.

The Range has expanded quickly in the past few years with sales soaring from £250m in 2011 to £382m in 2013. It has a store portfolio of more than 85 outlets with plans in place to open at least another 40 in the next three years.

Chris Dawson added: "We are very pleased to be able to finally announce plans for the new store in Willenhall, we feel that the location is perfect for The Range and we hope to become an integral part of the community.

"I am very pleased to be keeping on staff from the old site and they will play an important role in making sure the new superstore has a familiar feel. We are investing a lot of money into the area I look forward to welcoming loyal Hooty's customers and new customers so they can see what we are about, we pride ourselves in offering great value products at great prices and are confident that customers will be really pleased with the transformation."

The Range will open the store, its 88th, in April (2014).

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