Home and DIY retailer B&Q Ireland, a wholly-owned subsidiary of retail group Kingfisher, has called in an Examiner in a bid to save the ailing business, it has been announced.
Continuing to trade across all nine stores during the process, B&Q Ireland pointed out that employees and suppliers will be paid and all pre-paid goods and services as well as gift vouchers and credit notes, will be honoured.
Last week, entertainment retailer HMV performed a U-turn and promised to honour gift vouchers after initially claiming that these were invalid, bringing calls for a change to legislation to ensure that consumers are not short-changed in such situations.
Employing some 690 people, B&Q Ireland said that the troubled Irish economy and ongoing recession have hugely impacted trading.
A statement from Kingfisher said: “The examinership process is designed to facilitate the survival of the company which has been impacted by the recession, and in particular by the decline in consumer spending in the housing sector
“Despite remedial efforts by management, losses in the Irish market can no longer be sustained by the company, and it is hoped that a restructuring via examinership will provide for the potential for survival of some part of the business.”
Management has forecast that at least two stores will close following the process while others will be subject to individual landlords terms, which is likely to cause a further two closures.
Brian Mooney, Chairman of B&Q Ireland, explained the decision, commenting: “The management team is hopeful that a sustainable business can emerge from the examinership process, based on a restructuring of the company.
“Our priority remains our employees and our customers.
“Our colleagues have been briefed on today’s development, and understand that the company’s objective in seeking the appointment of an Examiner is to try to protect jobs and retain competition and consumer choice in the market.
“However, we cannot anticipate the outcome of this process which is subject to the Examiner’s recommendations.”