The iconic but loss-making retailer Habitat has put the bulk of its stores into administration.
Argos and Homebase owner Home Retail Group is buying just three of the branches – in London’s Tottenham Court Road, King’s Road and Finchley Road. It is also taking on Habitat’s online business in a deal worth £24.5m in total.
The 30 stores in administration will continue trading for around a six months while a buyer is sought for the business.
Habitat was established in 1964 by Sir Terence Conran but it has struggled in recent years. Ikea, which effectively owned Habitat for some years, failed to make a success of the business and current owner Hilco, the private equity firm that took it over in 2009, has had similar difficulties.
In a statement Habitat said that trading conditions were still challenging for retailers of big-ticket items such as furniture.
“A return to profitability for the business in the UK appears unlikely in the near term as many of the stores are expensive and poorly located for a furniture retailer.”
Hilco is also reported to be in advanced talks with another party regarding the sale of Habitat’s international business, which is profitable.