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Made.com close to collapse as rescue talks end without buyer

Made.com has moved closer to collapsing into administration, after rescue talks to find a buyer for the struggling online furniture business failed.

The company, known for its fashionable homeware including velvet sofas, lighting and rattan furniture, announced at the start of October that it was in discussions with a number of interested parties. It had set a deadline for receiving firm offers of the end of the month.

The retailer said none of its potential buyers were able to meet the timetable, adding it was “no longer in receipt of funding proposals or possible offers for the issued and to be issued share capital of the company”.

As a result, Made.com ended the rescue talks and said it could not be certain that any offer would be made for the business, or that any offer or investment would be suitable.

Made.com said in a statement to the stock market: “If further funding cannot be raised, or a firm offer for the company is not received before the company’s cash reserves are fully depleted, the board will take the appropriate steps to preserve value for creditors.”

The retailer’s shares plunged by nearly 90% on the London Stock Exchange on Tuesday, taking them below 1p, from a listing price of 200p. The shares have tumbled by 99.5% so far this year.

It has been a remarkable reversal of fortunes for the British furniture business, less than 18 months after it floated on the stock market in June 2021 with a market value of £775m.

Over that time, shares in Made.com have tumbled from a listing price of 200p to below 1p, and the company said on Tuesday it would consider whether to request a suspension of its shares.

It comes after a difficult few months for the company, which had been one of the winners during the pandemic, when locked-down customers spent money doing up their homes.

However, Made.com warned of job cuts in July as increasingly cash-strapped consumers reined in their spending, particularly on “big-ticket” items such as furniture.

In 2021, when still enjoying strong consumer demand for its products, Made.com was hit by industry-wide supply chain problems, as Covid lockdowns led to global port congestion and extended shipping times lengthened delivery delays.

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