The directors of premium furniture retailer Lee Longlands & Co, which can trace its origins back to 1902, have taken steps to place the company into administration, describing the steps as being necessary to protect the business from the impact of the coronavirus lockdown – but reassuring customers that it is very much business as usual.

The family-owned business made the announcement as it re-opens its showrooms for trading following the enforced closure due to the pandemic. The business operates showrooms in Birmingham, Leamington Spa, Kidderminster, Abingdon, Derby and Cheltenham, and has operated its flagship showroom on Broad Street in Birmingham city centre since 1932.

Joint administrator Matt Ingram, of advisory firm Duff & Phelps, comments: “Lee Longlands is a household name across the Midlands and has a fantastic reputation for quality and service. It is a longstanding profitable business and the fact that the appointment of administrators has been necessary demonstrates the devastating financial impact that this pandemic will leave in its wake.” 

Following the appointment of administrators, the stores are now to re-open, and customers awaiting deliveries are being told that their orders will be fulfilled, and the company will now start booking delivery dates and will be complying with social distancing rules.

Robert Lee, who represents the fourth generation of family stewardship of the firm, says: “For almost 120 years our family business and our employees have put our customers at the heart of everything we do. That will not change. We are very much open for business as usual and our customers can be assured we will continue to give them the highest levels of service as we restore our short-term finances and get back to work. Now that the coronavirus restrictions are being eased and we can begin to operate again, we are working extremely hard, under the highest level of safety standards, to start deliveries again for all our customers and get our showrooms open so that the public can once again furnish their homes with our fantastic-quality products.”

Matt Ingram adds: “This is a firm with a sound financial proposition. Being unable to trade for almost three months has severely disrupted its working capital cycle but working with management and with the support of the company’s suppliers, we will be focusing on restructuring its cash flow and exiting the administration period as soon as possible.”