Suppliers to Belfast Furniture Mall furious as stock 'disappears overnight' from closed furniture showroom
A supplier to the Belfast furniture showroom which closed last week says he intends to contact the police about his missing goods and money.
Customers and suppliers to Belfast Furniture Mall have been contacting the Belfast Telegraph to tell how their purchases or stock had disappeared overnight from the Boucher Plaza store last Thursday.
Michael McGurk from Pinakle Interior Products in Dunmurry, who says he has lost several thousand pounds worth of payment for divans and mattresses, was among the suppliers who went to the store last week to try and recover goods.
Mr McGurk said many in the Northern Ireland furniture trade now want to know exactly what has happened to the lorry loads of sofas, beds and sideboards which have apparently vanished.
"I had told Belfast Furniture Mall to stop taking money from people on my stock and that I wasn't going to supply anything more, because I hadn't been paid," he said.
"I went down there last week and tried to take my stock out.
"Some other guys were doing the same. Then the next day it was closed and everything was gone. This wouldn't have been easy to do – there would have been at least 20 lorryloads of furniture in that place, it would have not been easy to shift in that short space of time and they will be storing it somewhere.
"A lot of this stuff has either not been paid for by the company or has been part-paid for by customers – we want to know where all the stock is and I will be contacting the PSNI."
Mr McGurk said that he made all his deliveries and invoices out to a Dublin-based company, Clonmore Furniture Services Ltd, before the goods were transported back to Belfast.
A liquidator was appointed to Clonmore in the Republic on Monday.
Customers have also been left out of pocket – but those who have paid with their credit cards may receive a refund because Belfast Furniture Mall is now "untraceable".
"I paid £550 for a bed and mattress two months ago which never arrived," said one woman. "I was in touch with them on the phone and went into the store and they said that they had given the delivery driver the wrong time, or some other problem, each time.
"The staff were very reasonable, however I went in the other day and it was like a movie set – everything had gone.
"Because the company is now listed as untraceable – the website is down, the emails are bouncing back – I was able to have the amount refunded by my credit card company."
This week the Belfast Telegraph revealed how one of the directors of Finest Furniture, the parent company of Belfast Furniture Mall, was Englishman Andrew Cohen.
He is the son of Bruce Cohen, who, along with his two brothers, owned Courts furniture retailer, which collapsed in 2004.
The three Cohen brothers had bought Courts in 1946, when it was just a single shop in Cambridge.
They turned it into an international business with 98 stores across the UK and 355 throughout the world before it fell into administration.