Broadview Blinds problems blamed on economic downturn and increase in competition

Bournemouth Echo: RESTRUCTURING : The Broadview shop front in Westbourne RESTRUCTURING : The Broadview shop front in Westbourne

A BLINDS and awnings manufacturing business has been sold out of administration, saving 31 jobs but losing 27 others.

Family firm Broadview Blinds of Poole announced on December 13 that it was restructuring, with insolvency specialists Begbies Traynor appointed as administrators.

Although its factory in Hatchpond Road remains in business, the firm has closed its retail outlets, with 27 retail, sales and fitting staff made redundant.

However, the business and assets of part of the company have been sold as a going concern to Broadview Vehicle Awnings Ltd, and it will now focus on commercial sales to schools, luxury home developers and other businesses, including LV and Autoglass.

Managing director Ian Pratt, who runs the firm with his brother Mark, blamed the economic downturn and an increase in competition in the budget blind sector for its poor fortunes.

“We are disappointed that we had to close these outlets, and nobody wants to make staff redundant, but it is one of those things which are unavoidable sometimes,” he said.

“The demand was there but the margin was being squeezed, there was a lot of competition from firms retailing online, and budget blind sales were being hit hard.

“We are geared up for dealing with commercial interests and will be pushing our big contracts, the rewards are better in that direction.

“We needed to move in this direction, but we needed to move faster than we did.

“But we have saved as many jobs as we could and the company is up and running. Our customers shouldn’t see any disruption at all.”

Mr Pratt said the firm, founded by his father David Pratt in 1969, had some outstanding creditors but was working to “do the right thing by them”.

Julie Palmer, regional managing partner at Begbies Traynor, said: “It is a difficult time for those who have lost their jobs, particularly at this time of year, and everything is being done to assist them.

“But we are confident the business is now in a sound position to trade forward and prosper in the future.”

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