Humberside

Kingstown Group furniture firm shuts with loss of 280 jobs

Outside gates of a manufacturing site
Image caption Kingstown Furniture, on Leads Road, Hull, was established in 1976

Nearly 300 staff have lost their jobs after a furniture manufacturer stopped production and closed its doors.

Employees at Kingstown Group, in Hull, were told in letters - dated 13 March - their contract had ended on the same day.

They were also told they would not receive redundancy payments due to the firm's "current financial position".

Administrator Phil Deyes, of Leonard Curtis, said it was "in the process of winding down operations".

He said the business, which had two trading arms - Kingstown Furniture Ltd and Consort Furniture Ltd - and employed 280 people, faced "extremely challenging market conditions".

"Both have seen turnover fall dramatically, impacted mainly by a sharp decline in discretionary spending by UK consumers.

"Economic uncertainty continues to influence spending decisions, with little foreseeable improvement in demand.''

Image caption Staff received a letter from an insolvency firm notifying them they would not be receiving redundancy and other payments

Mr Deyes said the manufacturer supplied bedroom and dining furniture to "many well-known, high street names as well as local retailers".

In the letter, Insol Group, which contacted workers on behalf of the administrators, said: "Due to the company's current financial position it is not able to make payments to you for monies due such as Arrears of Pay, Holiday Pay, Redundancy pay, and Compensatory Notice Pay."

One worker, George Milner, said he was "gutted" when he was told of the news in a meeting earlier.

"We've had rough times before and we've always pulled through.

"I don't know what to do at the minute.

"I've been made redundant before but it's harder now with me being older."

Image caption George Milner said he was "gutted" about the closure

Another employee, Tom Stones, said he was in "shock" after being at the firm for 15 years but added it had "been coming for a long time".

According to its website, Kingstown Furniture, which described itself as "the UK's leading manufacturer of ready assembled furniture", celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2016 and has more than "360 staff based on a 11-acre site" in Leads Road.

The family-run business was set up in 1976 by Mike Sharp, who started making furniture in his garage for friends and family, it said.

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