Gift supply firm overcomes pandemic problems with £3m CBILS package

A Greater Manchester giftware supplier has strengthened its financial standing with the support of a £3m funding package from Lloyds Bank.

Based in Oldham, Widdop Bingham specialises in the design, import and export of home and giftware products for household name retailers.

Having been established as a manufacturer of fine clocks and watches in 1883, the business is now one of the UK’s leading wholesale gift suppliers, designing and distributing products for well-known brands, including Disney.

However, when the UK lockdown was announced, many of Widdop Bingham’s customers, including John Lewis, Clintons, Boots and H Samuels, were forced to close their doors.

This left the business facing cashflow issues as its usual volume of orders fell to almost zero – forcing the business to temporarily shut its factory and furlough 90% of its staff.

Turning to longstanding banking partner Lloyds Bank, the family-owned business was able to secure a £3m funding package through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

This enabled the business to cover fixed overheads while maintaining its relationships with customers and ensuring it was best placed to resume activity once the retail sector reopened.

The new funding was arranged by job sharing relationship directors, Susie Power and Amanda Wood at Lloyds Bank.

Stuart Illingworth, managing director at Widdop Bingham, said: “Widdop Bingham is now in its fifth generation as a family-owned business and when the pandemic struck our priority was to ensure our team of 125 staff could continue to meet their commitments and support their families.

Stuart Illingworth

“As a business that’s entirely dependent on the retail sector, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been acute.

“But the funding we’ve received from Lloyds Bank has given us enormous comfort for the future of the business.”

Susie Power said: “The pandemic has had a huge impact on the retail sector and the businesses within its supply chain.

“Widdop Bingham is an innovative business, with a very loyal customer base. But, like many other firms across the region, it’s needed support to adapt to meet the challenges of coronavirus.”