Page last updated at 22:07 GMT, Friday, 19 December 2008

Furniture chain MFI closes down

MFI shop
MFI has been hit by increased competition and falling sales

Furniture retailer MFI has now ceased trading with the loss of 1,400 jobs after the business failed to sell, its administrators have said.

The company's 111 stores have now all been closed. Customers with outstanding orders will get a refund.

MFI went into administration in November as the downturn in the housing market took its toll on demand for new kitchens and bedrooms.

Sales had fallen in recent years due to competition from rivals such as Ikea.

The administrators MCR could not say what redundancy payments would be made to the staff who had lost their jobs.

Refunds offered

Around 30,000 customers have been left with outstanding orders. Between 40% and 50% paid by debit card, cash or cheque.

This means they have to rely on the administrators to refund them, along with the MFI's other creditors.

They have been advised to apply for a refund.

  • Those who paid by credit card or Visa debit card should contact their card providers.
    Founded in 1964 as Mullard Furniture Industries
    Mullard was the maiden name of the wife of one of the co-founders
    Stores sold for just 1 in 2006 to private equity firm Merchant Equity Partners
    Management buyout in September involved 110 stores

  • For customers who paid by cash, cheque or non-Visa debit cards, the administrators say they expect to issue a full refund by drawing on about 30m which has been frozen in various credit card company accounts.
  • These customers should complete a proof of debt form available from the administrator's website and send it to or 43-45 Portman Square, London W1H 6LY before January 21.
  • Customers who have paid in full for custom-made Kuchen Lab kitchens will receive the orders because they are individually designed to the buyer's requirements.
  • Customers with further queries can call 01405 744813 between 9am to 6pm Monday to Saturday.

MFI's collapse has wider ramifications.

A huge warehouse used by MFI but run by logistics firm DHL will close on 23 February if a buyer is not found.

The distribution centre, at Thorne, near Doncaster, employs 350 people.

DHL said it would seek to redeploy as many staff as possible, but had so far found new posts for only 35 people.

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