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UPDATE: Administrators suspend trading at Rapid Hardware

Published: 8 February 2013
Stricken Liverpool department store Rapid Hardware has been delivered another blow, with its administrators unexpectedly closing the store.
UPDATE: Administrators suspend trading at Rapid Hardware
The family-run DIY and homewares business, which occupies the former John Lewis premises in the city centre, went into administration on Tuesday but the store remained open for business.

But now financial advisory firm Duff & Phelps has shut Rapid's doors to customers and says that final closure is a possibility.

In a new statement, joint administrator Philip Duffy said: "Following a review of the business and its stock holding, the joint administrators have today [February 7] suspended operations pending discussions with the company's main suppliers.

"The joint administrators are in the process of writing to all affected customers and employees will be notified of further developments. At this stage however, final closure of the store cannot be ruled out."

It urges any prospective purchasers for the business to contact them. Managing director Martin Doherty has appealed for a "white knight" investor to rescue the store.

Rapid's troubles can be traced back largely to two major events that coincided in 2008. First, sales were hit hard by the economic squeeze that followed the global banking crisis, and, second, Liverpool One, the UK's largest open-air shopping centre, opened - which effectively moved the city's commercial centre.

Recognising that that would have a major impact on customer footfall in Renshaw Street, from where it was then operating, Rapid took the decision to take over the John Lewis store, which John Lewis itself was vacating in order to open its new anchor store in Liverpool One.

Once in the new premises, Rapid took the opportunity to diversify within the 100,000sq ft space - which has recently seen the completion of a major refurbishment - adding furniture and homewares to its DIY, decorating and garden products.

However, shoppers found the city centre location difficult in terms of carrying purchases away, whereas they had been able to park right outside the Renshaw Street premises - which remain unoccupied. The store has also been criticised by customers for its diversification away from its core business.

And the business's troubles mounted in 2012 when Liverpool's Central station closed for six months for refurbishment.

According to Mr Duffy: "The closure during much of last year of a local transport hub [resulted] in a dramatic loss of passing trade, the financial consequences of which were ultimately insurmountable."

Local footfall during the closure is estimated to have fallen by as much as 7%.

Comments

Published prior to March 2014
By Mike
I really feel sorry for people like you who become the innocent victims of ruthless Management and companies who have no care or thought for hard working individuals.
It is a great shame that as a Limited trading company no one can do anything against the Directors of this company that just "Took, took, took" - very craftily they moved some time ago all of there equity into a property company as a separate limited company and let Rapid Hardware Limited "Stand alone" - until the law is changed in this country (and it will not be !!) Then people like Margaret and many others will continue to suffer when high street shops or businesses fail. Some MP should consider some form of action or mark my words it will happen again and again !!
Published prior to March 2014
By margaret williams
Is it legalised mugging to take my three thousand pounds when rapid know they can;t deliver. I am a pensioner, the money came from my redundancy savings and cannot be replaced. I also think the move to new building was a bad idea as you couldn't carry away heavy goods
Published prior to March 2014
By John J
The current people who ran this company lost their way after years of not looking after it's customers and suppliers to a high standard, tried to move up market with no real idea of how to do that correctly with out losing their original customer base, plus no parking & high running costs was always going to kill this company eventually, such a shame as the founder had the correct way of how to build a business.
Published prior to March 2014
By Ian
I couldnt agree more with Mike comments above. Rapid Hardware always alienated suppliers by not working with them, and certainly not paying their bills on time. if they had worked with suppliers and been honest, maybe, just maybe they could have survived - it was once a great business, which should never have vacated Renshaw Street
Published prior to March 2014
By Maria smyth
Any news on whats happening with it+all its stock???
Published prior to March 2014
By Debbie
What goes around comes around and I heartily agree with Mikes comments Rapid were in part responsible for the closure of my business 5 years ago with their inability to stick to the terms of their trading that they INSISTED I sign, I supplied goods to Rapid at rock bottom prices and was given every imaginable excuse not to pay I have no sympathy what soever for Martin Dougherty or any other member of the management team as they know only to well that they offered no support for other local companies struggling to survive.
Published prior to March 2014
By mike
I total disagree with Managing Director Martin Doherty`s comments. In the past going back 3 or 4 years even BEFORE they moved from Renshaw street I have spent many hours sometimes for 2 or 3 days at at time sitting waiting in the store for his grandson DANIEL to write out a cheque. One time he left the store through another exit even at 4.30pm - even though he knew I had sat in one of his departments since 9.30AM that morning waiting to collect a cheque.
I was not alone many of Rapids Suppliers have suffered for years because of there blatant arrogance in the way they treated suppliers.
This Management knew exactly what is has done since its move from Renshaw street before and after.
Published prior to March 2014
By Elizabeth dutton
Rapid should have stayed where they had been for years. It was a wrong move going to where they are now. Tucked away, no collection point and expensive. My husband and I hadnt been for ages and we were there a week before the closure announcement, it was full of all sorts of things, confusing layout and as mentioned expensive. I dont think central stations closure is to blame at all, they shouldnt have moved. Pity.
Published prior to March 2014
By Gordon Roberts
Renshaw Street and later Bold Street were the shop window for the store. You could usually find a spot to park a car nearby, pop into the store for whatever you wanted and return to your car with the goods.
They even had a gardening shop in Seel Street, which was wonderful but that was taken over when Liverpool One was developed.
Ove the years I and many other people will have spent 1000 s of pounds at RAPID.
Liverpool City Council did not help RAPID with their redevelopment of Renshaw Street over 12 to 18-months. To my mind, that spelt the death knell for the store in that location because of the council policy of making life difficult for motorists in our city by additional restrictions on motorists.
Now, I seldom if ever go to RAPID in Williamson Square because I cannot get anywhere near with a motorcar to collect goods. Most of my friends and colleagues say the same.
The only way in which I can see RAPID surviving is if Liverpool City Council help by creating a policy of permitting access to motorcars to shops such as RAPID in the city centre pedestrianised zone for easy collection of goods.
I know RAPID had a porterage service but how could anybody expect such a person to assist somebody load their motorcar 250-300 or more yards away with something such as a washing machine. An impossible expectation to fulfil.
RAPID through the administrators could also help themselves by reverting to how they operated 20 to 40 years ago or they could guarantee 'same day delivery at no extra charge' from their current location.
I do not believe closure of Centra Station for a while had much to do with their demise.
I truly would like them to survive but I am sad they left Renshaw Street, Seel Street and not least, Bold Street. They had 2 whole roads as their shop window.
I feel so sorry for the staff who gave their all to everybody and I wish them well for the future.

Regards
Published prior to March 2014
By Keith Clifford
This was always a great business but the move closer to the centre was clearly a mistake. They should have moved it to warehouse premises further out such as the dock road or edge hill with more parking at the door. The business can still thrive if it can get out of the existing premises.
Published prior to March 2014
By Tony
Great store but the notion to move to a location where you could not load your vehicle was ludicrous.
Published prior to March 2014
By Stuart Monkcom
I don't accept the premise that footfall in Renshaw Street drastically changed as a result of the opening of Liverpool 1. Renshaw Street was already far enough away from the City Centre to deter pedestrians but happy motorists were able to load up right outside the former premises.
I also suspect that commercial rent and rates were a lot lower in Renshaw Street which is why Rapid had virtually the whole street to themselves. The move to more prestigious city centre premises was clearly an ill-considered exercise. Such a shame.

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