A NATIONAL furniture retailer with a Chester store has gone into administration.

Land of Leather, which operates from 109 retail stores including at its base on the Greyhound Retail Park, is continuing to trade while attempts are made to sell the business as a “going concern”.

In the meantime, Lee Manning and Nick Edwards of Deloitte LLP, the business advisory firm, have been appointed as joint administrators.

The company directors had been seeking to either raise working capital facilities or sell the business following challenging trading conditions.

Lee Manning, joint administrator and Deloitte partner, said: “The Land of Leather stores will continue to trade as normal, while the administrators continue to talk to interested parties with a view to concluding a sale of the business as a going concern.

“The administrators are working closely with the management to protect the interests of customers who have paid deposits on furniture orders. We have taken a number of steps both to protect customers and to inform them of how the administration affects their circumstances.”

All customers who have either paid a deposit by credit card or Visa debit card, or have paid a deposit by any means since December 26 are fully protected.

Any customers who paid a deposit by cash or by a non-Visa debit card before December 26 will be offered a discount on other stock if their original order cannot be fulfilled.

However, it is the objective of the administrators to sell the business as a going concern and have all deposits honoured.

A letter has gone to all customers who have paid a deposit to explain how they are affected. In addition, a dedicated hotline 0800 496 0868 and email enquiry address lol@deloitte.co.uk have been set up for concerned customers.

While stores are open for business as usual, the administrators are urging customers who have paid deposits to use the hotline, email enquiry address and website, rather than to visit the stores, unless it is to pay the balance on goods ready for delivery.

Mr Manning added: “Where customers have been given a scheduled delivery date or have been advised that goods are awaiting payment of the balance before delivery can be made, these deliveries and orders will all be fulfilled.”

Customers who have bought items from concessions based within Land of Leather stores are unaffected by the administration.

News of the troubles at Land of Leather follows hot on the heels of the closure of MFI on the Greyhound Retail Park after administrators failed to find a buyer for the chain.