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Norfolk Business Awards 2018

An e-commerce consortium is hoping to resurrect a deal for assets of Multiyork

PUBLISHED: 08:37 10 January 2018 | UPDATED: 08:37 10 January 2018

The Multiyork offices in Thetford. Picture: Sonya Duncan

The Multiyork offices in Thetford. Picture: Sonya Duncan

ARCHANT EASTERN DAILY PRESS (01603) 772434

The factory and head office of failed furniture retailer Multiyork has attracted interest from a consortium which claims it wants to continue production and secure jobs at the site.

The group of investors, whose members have worked for Amazon for Business among other e-commerce and wholesale companies, is hatching plans to create an online retailer with batch production capabilities in Thetford.

It is being led by Mike Atkinson, chief executive of business-to-business distributor Jetzt, who said the consortium wanted to create a retailer in the mould of multi-million pound electrical appliances group AO, at Multiyork’s former Thetford headquarters.

“Our cards are on the table. We are ready to get started right away,” he said. “Our main priority is to look at the manufacturing site and what skill sets are there.

“We will have to make an investment to turn that site from one production model to a batch or bulk production model.”

Multiyork’s intellectual property and brand were sold to sofa giant DFS shortly after Christmas, and Mr Atkinson said he wanted to strike a deal with administrators Duff & Phelps rather than risk the remaining assets going to auction.

Mr Atkinson, who has a background in e-commerce and B2B sales with companies such as Rymans, said the group would look to take on all workers at the Thetford site, dependent upon their skills and capacity to retrain.

The consortium is understood to have carried out due diligence and held discussions with Duff & Phelps, which has declined to comment while the sale process continues. It had not made a formal bid at the time DFS’s £1.2m deal was concluded.

Despite the consortium’s interest, Mr Atkinson said he was yet to decide on how many former Multiyork stores the group might take on, but saw potential to use certain sites as showrooms which could double as depots for quick-turnaround delivery.

Multiyork went into administration in November and laid off more than 100 jobs at its Thetford headquarters in December. Before running into trouble the company employed 550 people nationally with 220 at Thetford and additional workers at the Norwich, Ipswich and Mellis stores.

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