750 jobs at British furniture chain Habitat are at risk, as the bankrupt company will be split up and (some of) the pieces sold separately. Competitor Home Retail Group will take over a small part of Habitat UK, and for the continental activities too, an interested buyer would have been found.
Private equity fail
Even though Habitat had been generating losses for years, private equity firm Hilco paid 15 million euro to the Kamprad-family (best known for Ikea-founder Ingvar Kamprad) to take over the chain. The private equity firm had hoped to make Habitat a healthy company again, but failed in the process and is now forced to sell the chain after starting the procedure to go in administration.
Home Retail Group picks best, leaves rest
Home Retail Group, owner of the number two in British DIY Homebase, will pay Hilco 24.5 million pounds (27.5 million euro) for the best British bits and pieces: the intellectual property, the exclusive rights to use the name Habitat, the web shop and three London flagship stores. For 150 of the 900 employees, the future seems secured. For the 30 other British stores, the owners appear to be hoping for buyers for the property at best, not leaving much hope for the 750 other employees.
European stores are safe(r)
As Habitat’s continental stores had been generating profits, countrary to their British counterparts, their future looks a lot better. Hilco confirms ongoing negotiations with a company – rumoured to be French Conforama – to buy the 27 French, 6 Spanish, 5 German and 3 Belgo-Luxemburgian stores.