Beds retailer at centre of proposed pre-pack deal

Accrington-based retail chain Bensons for Beds could be reacquired by Alteri Investors, a specialist backer of troubled retailers, in a pre-pack insolvency deal.

Sky News is reporting that Alteri, the owner of the Harveys furniture chain and Bensons for Beds, is proposing a restructuring arrangement that would see administrators appointed in the next few weeks.

Such a deal could result in the liquidation of Harveys, which employs nearly 700 staff, unless a buyer can be found.

Earlier this year Sky News said PricewaterhouseCoopers was being lined up to oversee the administration process.

Both businesses were acquired by Alteri last year.

The firm struck a deal in November to acquire Blue Group Hold Co Ltd, the owner of Bensons for Beds, Harveys Furniture and upholstery and bedding manufacturers Relyon, Steinhoff UK Beds and Formation Furniture, from Steinhoff International Holdings.

Alteri Investors founder and chief executive, Gavin George, said at the time of the acquisition: “This is exactly the type of investment opportunity our second fund was launched to find – trusted retail brands with strong management and the potential for profitable growth.”

Blue Group had been under the ownership of Steinhoff International since 2005.

Between them, Harveys and Bensons for Beds trade from 269 stores across the UK and employ around 2,700 staff.

Bensons for Beds was founded in the 1950s and is the largest bed retailer in the UK by store number and the third-largest by revenue.

Harveys, founded in 1966, is a nationally recognised brand and the largest furniture specialist in the UK by store number.

A spokesman for Alteri declined to comment.