The recession today looked to have claimed another victim as Northern Ireland’s largest locally owned electrical retailer Laser Electrical Ltd went into administration.
The directors of the company, which has 10 stores and 140 full and part-time employees, called in administrators KPMG late yesterday after running into cashflow difficulties.
John Hansen, joint administrator, said Laser’s directors had been in negotiations to bring in new investment over the past few months but had not been successful.
He said that falling turnover, a squeeze on profit margins and general economic uncertainty have led to its problems.
“All stores have been closed until further notice whilst the Joint Administrators carry out an assessment of the business and the options for the way forward. While the process is ongoing, staff have been advised not to return to work until next week,” said Mr Hansen.
He said that employees were informed of the situation this morning and have been told to come back to Laser’s head office next Friday for an update.
Mr Hansen said that the administrators would spend the next week trying to find a buyer in order to save their jobs. If one could not be found it is likely that the company’s stock would be sold and the business closed.
The Joint Administrators said they are in the process of contacting the company’s creditors and have requested that anyone who has a claim against the company or who may have goods on its premises to contact KPMG in writing.
Laser was formed more than 20 years ago and sells electrical products.
Mr Hansen said that no new orders would be taken and no deliveries would go out until the company’s finances had been fully assessed.
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that Bargain Books was also placed in administration this week. Under the terms of the administration a new buyer has been found and it will continue trading with the 77 staff keeping their jobs.
Its directors said that rising overheads and competition from supermarkets and book chains had created a difficult environment for the family-owned business.