The online furniture retailer Made.com is planning to call in administrators after talks to find a buyer failed and it stopped taking customer orders last week.

The company, which sells furniture for the home and garden to younger shoppers, put itself up for sale in September, but said rescue talks with a number of would-be buyers had not resulted in a firm offer. Trading in Made.com shares was suspended on Tuesday.

During the pandemic, Made.com’s sales surged as people spent more time at home during lockdowns and splashed out on furniture and homeware purchases online. However, more recently households have cut back on big-ticket purchases, under pressure from soaring food and energy bills, while global supply chain problems have disrupted deliveries.

The business employs 700 people, but is in the process of making a third of them redundant.

After a request by the board, the firm’s shares were suspended from trading on the London Stock Exchange. The shares, which floated on the stock exchange in June 2021, last traded at 0.52p, having lost 99.7% of their value in the past year. The firm’s market value has plummeted from £775m to £2m.

Made.com said it had lined up PricewaterhouseCoopers as administrators, a move to give Made.com breathing space to try to secure a parcel sale or full sale of the business in the next 10 days. Administrators would be appointed if a sale cannot be secured.

The company was set up in 2010 by entrepreneurs Ning Li and Brent Hoberman, who co-founded Lastminute.com, with Julien Callède and Chloe Macintosh. Li said in 2017 that Made.com wanted to be the new Ikea, “the pioneer of the next trend of how people shop for their home”.

Susannah Streeter, the senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “The extent to which big-ticket items like furniture have fallen out of favour in this round of rapid belt tightening is evident from the fortunes of Made.com. It’s filed [intention] for administration just 16 months after listing in London.

“It’s a dramatic fall from grace for a company known for its stylish ranges, which although aren’t even at the higher end of the furniture market, are clearly unaffordable for so many as the cost of living crisis still rages.”



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