Belfast Telegraph

Man behind famous Fultons furniture name bankrupted

By Margaret Canning

The man behind one of the most famous names in the local furniture business has been made bankrupt.

Cyril Fulton (63), former director of luxury retailer Fultons, has been listed as bankrupt following a creditor's petition by AIB, owners of First Trust Bank in Northern Ireland.

He was listed as insolvent following the creditor's petition, meaning that he was bankrupted by someone he owed money to.

The NI Court Service confirmed the petition had been brought by First Trust. AIB said it did not comment on individual cases.

Last month Mr Fulton and his son Ernest lost a High Court battle against AIB over the sale of their former flagship store in Belfast.

The family firm started out in Lurgan around 55 years ago and in 1991 opened that store at Boucher Road. It featured an elegant escalator as a centrepiece and the Hawthorne restaurant, where a musician serenaded diners from his grand piano.

But Fulton Fine Furnishings Ltd went into administration in 2012, a casualty of the recession.

The outlet at Balmoral Plaza is now occupied by Harvey Norman.

An assistant in the Lurgan Fultons yesterday said it was open as usual and that Mr Fulton's bankruptcy had "nothing to do" with the store.

Cyril Fulton did not reply to a request for comment. Two years ago he announced he was relaunching in Lurgan.

That new shop in the town's Queen Street remains open. Mr Fulton said at the time that the showroom represented a "substantial investment" but would not reveal the exact cost of the premises.

He added: "It'll be reconstructed up to the level you would expect from Fultons. It'll be much smaller so there won't be enough room for the pianist, but we will still have a restaurant."

Lurgan-based Fulton Furnishings Ltd lists Rachael Marie Fulton as a director.

Cyril and Ernest Fulton had been embroiled in litigation after they claimed the £1.75m sale price for the Boucher Road premises to Ballymena retail and property developer Sam Morrison had been a gross undervalue.

Glyn Roberts, chief executive of Retail NI, which represents independent retailers, said the world of furniture retail was struggling.

"It's been coming under pressure with the growth of online shopping, and I think that, post-recession, there are still issues around consumer confidence," he said.

"People have been putting off buying 'luxury-type goods' and are making do with what they have."

He said the Fultons Boucher Road store had enjoyed a good reputation. "They had a reputation like going the extra mile, great service, like any great independent retailer," he added.

Belfast Telegraph

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