Online and out-of-town competition blamed as Ipswich-based electricals store Matthews goes into liquidation

Matthews in Foxhall Road, is in liquidation. Picture: MATT STOTT

Matthews in Foxhall Road, is in liquidation. Picture: MATT STOTT - Credit: Archant

A long-established electrical appliances retailer in Ipswich has gone into liquidation with the loss of six jobs.

Matthews in Foxhall Road, is in liquidation. Picture: MATT STOTT

Matthews in Foxhall Road, is in liquidation. Picture: MATT STOTT - Credit: Archant

Matthews, based in Foxhall Road, has been trading in the town for more than 70 years, but is said to have struggled for sales recently in the face of competition from large edge-of-town stores and online operators.

Chris McKay, a director at regional business rescue and insolvency specialist McTear Williams & Wood, has now been appointed as liquidator following a meeting of creditors held under the Insolvency Act 1986.

Adrian Sage, senior associate at McTear Williams & Wood, said: “Matthews is a long-established and well-known local business but it has suffered a reduction trade, with online retailers and out-of-town stores affecting sales. Unfortunately, all six employees, including the two directors, have been made redundant.”

He added that the prospects for creditors of the company remained uncertain at such an early stage in the liquidation process.

Kazin Sahin, owner of fruit and vegetable shop Nature’s Garden in Foxhall Road, said: “We must not panic. This is a busy road near the town centre with shops which people need everyday, such as the newsagents, the chemist, hairdressers and myself.

“But local people should support their local shop. It is more convenient to go to a supermarket, but I think independent shops are the backbone of local communities. They have to help us to help themselves.”

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Another nearby shop owner, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Matthews was a key part of the area and will be missed. It had a very good reputation – its after service was renowned. But it had competition from supermarkets, places like John Lewis and Hughes, and online shopping.

“I’m not sure if it is the first of many, but it is another one gone. There is a gradual erosion and you never know who or what is next.”

Another shop owner who did not want to be named added: “It is very sad. Factors might include changing shopping habits, business rates and other costs.”

Records at Companies House show that Matthews Limited was incorporated in February 1971 and took its current name in May 1988, having previous been known as Matthews TV Rentals Limited. However, according to the company’s website, the business was first established in 1946.

The current directors, according to Companies House, are Andrew John Cloud, appointed in October 2010, who is shown in the company’s last annual return as its sold shareholder, and John Lorne Crawford, appointed in January 2014.

The company’s last annual accounts, filed in July last year and covering the year to October 31, 2015, show net liabilities of £77,768, compared with £63,356 a year earlier.

Independent electricals retailers have faced a tough time in recent years.

In 2011, regional chain Bennetts, based in Norwich, went into administration with the loss of more than 200 jobs, although six of its stores were acquired by Lowestoft-based Hughes, which continues to trade successfully and is a member of the Top 100 listing of the largest companies in Suffolk and Norfolk.

In 2013, after 90 years of trading, Taylor Electrical announced the closure of its shops in Beccles, Diss, Halesworth and Mildenhall with the loss of 23 jobs.

And in 2014, Hadleigh-based BV Hicks Limited went into voluntary liquidation after more than 50 years of trading, having first been established in Stowmarket in 1960.

Even larger operators have not been immune with the national chain Comet collapsing in 2012, leading to the losss of more than 6,000 jobs.