EXCLUSIVE: Better Bathrooms boss blames Chinese New Year for collapse

Dave Cullen, a director at Better Bathrooms and chief executive of parent firm Roxor Group, has said major but unexpected supply problems during peak winter trade was the final straw for the loss-making national bathroom retailer.

Speaking exclusively to kbbreview, he said: “In spite of a thorough due diligence process ahead of the acquisition, the extent of the trading issues found after completion have unfortunately been too great to enable the business to be saved and turned around in a cost-effective manner.

“The major issue emanated from the business having failed to order product from suppliers required to enable the business to properly trade through the winter peak period.

“The proximity of Chinese New Year to the date of acquisition hindered any attempt by Roxor to leverage its exceptional supply chain expertise and relationships to facilitate stock at short notice.”

Holding group Roxor, which owns bathroom and tile manufacturing and supply brands BC Designs, Ultra Finishing and UAE-based Fireclay Factory, bought Better Bathrooms last October for an undisclosed sum after an extensive search for a B2C brand to complement its portfolio.

At the time, Cullen told kbbrevew that he did not believe Better Bathrooms was a “broken business” and that it just needed to get its cost management back under control.

He said: “The acquisition of Better Bathrooms makes Roxor a substantially larger group, effectively doubling its size and presence in the marketplace.

“It also forms part of Roxor Group’s ambitious growth strategy, enhancing our competitive position.”

But days after Better Bathrooms ceased trading and called in the administrators, Cullen admitted that “the extent of fundamental flaws in the procurement process ahead of the vitally important peak trading period” were “impossible to fix in time to save the business in its current form”.

He said that “all efforts to turn the Better Bathrooms business around” had been taken.

The administrators at FRP Advisory have said they are urgently looking to speak with parties who are interested in acquiring the assets of Better Bathrooms.

Former employees will have to claim money owed to them through the Government’s Redundancy Payments Service, while customers owed products have been urged to contact FRP with their details.

“We will be writing to all customers as soon as possible,” said Phil Pierce, joint administrator and partner at FRP Advisory.

Before Roxor acquired Better Bathrooms, it was owned by its founder Colin Stevens and the bank-backed investment group Business Growth Fund, which had a minority stake.

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