An historic furniture retailer plans to reopen its Derby showroom soon despite going into administration.
Directors of Lee Longlands and Co Ltd said going into administration was a “necessary step” which had been taken to protect the business from the “devastating impact” of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But the family-owned company insists it is “very much business as usual”, and has already reopened its other branches, including its flagship store in Broad Street, Birmingham.
While its showroom in East Street, Derby, currently remains closed following the coronavirus lockdown, it is set to be back up and running soon.
The retailer, which can trace its origins back to 1902, says it plans to reopen its city centre showroom at the end of the month.
A spokeswoman for the firm says it is “very reliant” on footfall from the nearby Intu Derby, where dozens of shops have reopened this week after the Government eased its lockdown restrictions.
Big-name stores including H&M, JD Sports, and River Island are among those already back open at the centre, but some shops have not reopened yet.
The spokeswoman for Lee Longlands said: “Our Derby showroom is very reliant on the footfall from the Intu shopping centre, which is the reason it remains closed at the moment.
“However, we are monitoring the footfall (from Intu) daily, and plan on reopening our Derby showroom at the end of June, in line with predicted Intu shopping centre footfall increases.”
Yesterday, joint-administrator, Matt Ingram, of advisory firm Duff & Phelps, confirmed his appointment was as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic.
He said: “Lee Longlands is a household name across the Midlands and has a fantastic reputation for quality and service.
“It is a long-standing 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.”
Robert Lee, who is the fourth generation of family stewardship of the firm, said the move would not change the fact that customers are “at the heart” of everything the company does.
He said: “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 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.”