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Jobs likely to be created by acquisition of Bennetts Retail

Over 100 jobs could be created following the announcement that Hughes Electrical Ltd has completed the acquisition of part of the assets and business of Bennetts Retail Ltd following successful discussions with the joint Administrator PKF (UK) LLP. This means six stores will be re-opened and the successful Bennetts Trade and on-line operations will resume trading.

Lowestoft based Hughes Electrical operates 42 stores specialising in the sale and rental of home entertainment and kitchen appliances. The company has traded for 90 years over which time it has remained consistently profitable while building a strong reputation for customer advice and service. Managing Director Robert Hughes believes the Bennetts’ brand name compliments rather than competes against that of Hughes, he said; “Bennetts tend to operate larger stores in out of town locations and are price driven. Hughes operates smaller stores in high street locations where high levels of customer service and advice are paramount. The Bennetts stores to be reopened have successfully co-existed with our own and there is every reason to believe this will continue.”  The six stores will continue to trade under the Bennetts brand and it is hoped some of the previous staff can be re-employed under the management of former Bennetts’ Director Mark Ferdani. 

Therefore applications will now be invited from former Bennetts’ staff with the hope that over 100 jobs will be created. Hughes will provide its financial strength so that relationships with suppliers can be restored and customer problems resolved. Says Robert Hughes, “Customers and suppliers need reassurance at this difficult time. As one of the country’s largest and most successful electrical retailers, we will be able to do that. “Hughes has always put customer service first - so while we may have no legal responsibility to do so, we will make it a priority to ensure all unfulfilled orders at the time of the administrator’s appointment are resolved.” Matt Howard, Joint Administrator and corporate recovery partner at PKF remarked: “We are delighted that we have been able to rescue part of the business and find a buyer in such a short period of time. It is regrettable that we have had to make redundancies but that was due to a lack of cash available in the administration that meant it was not possible to continue to trade the business and meet ongoing wage costs for all staff. We are very confident that the Bennetts name will trade well from these reopened stores and wish them every success.”

In a similar deal two years ago, Hughes Electrical acquired part of the assets of Midlands based retailer Apollo 2000 when they went into administration. The eight out of town stores acquired are now all trading profitably with all the jobs saved still being retained. “We have experience in trading from stores similar to those of Bennetts and resolving customer and supplier issues that arise from administration. This is why we believe our acquisition of part of the assets of Bennetts is the best outcome for all concerned,” commented Robert Hughes.

Hughes Electrical has been assisted in their acquisition by Larking Gowen Corporate Finance and Mills & Reeve Solicitors. The advisors have issued a joint statement as follows: “We are pleased to have been able to advise, on extremely short notice, Hughes Electrical in this acquisition which will allow a number of stores to reopen and to trade under the Bennetts name. We wish Hughes well with its expansion plans.”

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