The British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation – BiKBBI – has reported that it has received more than 100 updates from its members who are collectively owed in excess of £1m by Bathstore for completed installation work, adding that the figure represents just a quarter of those potentially affected.
The BiKBBI noted that it expects this number to “rise dramatically” over the coming days as more of its installer members update the organisation. Of the members who have contacted the BiKBBI so far, one individual is owed more than £90,000, with the majority being owed between £2,500 and £10,000. KBBDaily earlier reported that any installers owed monies by Bathstore in relation to work completed prior to the company going into administration will be considered as an unsecured claim.
Rumours of Bathstore’s impending collapse began circulating earlier this month, with the company appointing Ryan Grant and Tony Nygate of BDO LLP as joint administrators on the 26th June 2019. The administrators sent a letter to all installation contractors, notifying them that “it is no longer possible for the company to continue to provide installation services to customers” and that “this means that unfortunately your services with the company are terminated with immediate effect”.
The BiKBBI said it is liaising with both Bathstore and BDO to support its installer members by acting as a conduit for information, “helping them to navigate the complicated process of recompense for monies owed”. The organisation will also help its members by connecting them with new opportunities, noting that “this situation will affect their future order-book, with installers often being booked for eight to 12 weeks in advance”.
“We are working with some great retailers and strategic partners and thankfully the general UK skills shortage will prove to be an asset in this scenario,” the BiKBBI said. “Great installers are in demand and we will ensure that our members are connected with those businesses and individuals seeking a professional installation service.”
BiKBBI CEO Damian Walters said: “Once again it’s the little guy that’s hit the most. Honest, hard-working people who are the backbone of our economy are once again victim of a scenario which is clearly way beyond their control. I give my personal assurances to each and every one of them and their families that we’ll do everything in our power to ensure their voice is heard.
“We have requested meetings with the appointed administrators at BDO and will be meeting Ministers to discuss the available support to our members and their customers. I have spoken to our own Patron Stephen Metcalfe MP, and we are working on a strategy to seek government support on this matter. This will go right to the top and I will not rest until notice is taken and action is had.”
Bathstore employs 531 staff at its head office in Welwyn Garden City and across 135 stores across the UK. The joint administrators said the company will continue to trade as they seek a buyer for the business. They said that the appointment of administrators was made “after several months of difficult trading and the failure of ongoing talks to find a buyer for the business”.