Carpet retailer closure due to owner health concerns

Family run carpet retail business Cullingford Carpets & Interiors ceased trading due to ongoing health issues with its owners.

Cullingford Carpets Limited, which was established in 1978 and operated out of stores in Wincanton and Gillingham, entered administration on 20 November 2023 following the appointment of Hugh Jesseman and Claire Howell, both of Antony Batty & Company LLP.

Detailed in newly filed documents on Companies House, the business began to suffer when Mr Cullingford, joint owner alongside his wife, had a bad fall, injuring his head, which led to sporadic bleeds on the brain. This impacted his cognitive ability and in early 2023, Mr Cullingford suffered a stroke, his second in around four years.

This had a major impact on his health and mental wellbeing, which deteriorated rapidly, and resulted in him being sectioned in hospital.

Core responsibilies then fell to Mrs Cullingford, with the burden beginning to impact her own mental health. As a result, Mrs Cullingford was signed off work while being visited by a mental health crisis team on a daily basis.

It was decided that the company, which employed a further 17 staff and turned over £2.4m in its most recent accounts with a loss of £128,000, could not continue to trade and was placed into administration.

The administrators looked to sell the business and assets, with one offer of £25,000 being made. However, this was rebuffed due to a lack of engagement from the buyer. The administrators then moved to calve up the assets, which were valued at around £12,000.

The report states that at the time of publishing, a sale has yet to be determined.

As for creditors, preferential employee claims totalled £40,500, which could receive a distribution depending on the sale of assets. The HMRC is also owed £202,000, while Lloyds Bank and Seneca Trade Partners are owed respective sums of £89,000 and £49,000.

Unsecured creditor claims stood at £1m, including a further £36,000 owed to Lloyds and £74,000 owed to staff. It is also understood that there are a number of consumer deposits received, although a figure attributing to this remains unclear at this stage. It is, however, expected that creditors will suffer a shortfall of around £1.4m.

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