Furniture store closes after relocation

AN independent furniture and homeware business which suffered poorer sales than expected after moving to a new site has collapsed with the loss of about 12 jobs.

AN independent furniture and homeware business which suffered poorer sales than expected after moving to a new site has collapsed with the loss of about 12 jobs.

HaGA was previously based at Bury St Edmunds but moved to a new store premises in Cambridge in the last few months.

It went into voluntary liquidation last week after footfall at the store, based at a prestigious site within the city formerly occupied by top-end homeware retailer Habitat, fell some way below expectations, causing financial difficulties within the business.

The business was founded about seven years ago by Shaun and Jeri Cooke, who started from a market stall in Bury. It later moved to Barton Road before vacating that for the Cambridge site.


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Liquidator Andrew McTear, a partner at business rescue and insolvency specialists McTear Williams Wood said the company had traded from Barton Road retail park in Bury St Edmunds but moved earlier this year.

“They were expecting sales to be higher because of higher footfall but that did not materialise at all, and the rent was quite high,” he said. “After about seven weeks they realised that they weren't going to be able to really break even and took advice from us and that led to the business stopping trading a couple of weeks ago.”

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The business was unable to get the turnover to a viable level, and retail demand in Cambridge was “a lot less than they were expecting”. The company was also affected by the economic downturn, he explained. “It's a particularly tough sector. They sold furniture and contemporary fashionable houseware,” he said.

The remaining stock was being taken away and would be either sold as a job lot by tender or by auction. The company had made “quite substantial” losses, Mr McTear said.

“The two directors, the couple that run it, are very saddened by it. At one point, the business was very successful and they have just seen it deteriorate, I think partly because of a general slowdown in retail, partly through changes in car parking where they were in Bury St Edmunds and latterly because the trade was nowhere near as they were thinking at Cambridge.”

Michael Wiseman, director of The Grafton shopping centre, which is situated close to the former HaGA store in Cambridge but does not own it, said the shop had only opened in September but occupied “quite an iconic” building.

“We are obviously sad to see a significant new independent retailer like HaGA disappear from the street in these difficult times,” he said.

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