Belfast Telegraph

Sam's Yer Man shop reopens for business

By Rachel Martin

A shop that once housed one of Northern Ireland's best-known independent retailers before the company went bust last year has reopened its doors.

S&R Electric's famous jingle "Sam's yer man for a bargain" has clearly inspired the name of the new limited company.

Just over a year after S&R Electric shut its doors - leaving behind a mountain of unpaid debts - the chain's former Newtownards store is open again, but this time under a new company, Sam's Electrical Superstore.

The company was incorporated in December with Sam Duff jnr as its sole director.

Twenty staff lost their jobs when S&R Electric's Newtownards and Belfast branches closed in April last year.

Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association chief executive Glyn Roberts said: "I'm absolutely delighted to hear that "Sam's yer man" is back. It was a very iconic and well respected business in east Belfast.

"I'm not sure how many customers were affected, but I hope that first order of business would be to address that issue."

In August, a report by the administrator stated that the firm had started legal action "in respect of an alleged fraud committed by a former employee."

It was suggested that the alleged incident had cost the company more than £250,000.

The fraud case is still said to be ongoing. It is understood to not involve any members of the Duff family.

S&R Electric owed just under £670,000 to unsecured creditors thought to include at least 60 customers and other businesses. However, the actual figure for unpaid debt is expected to be higher as some creditors have yet to submit a claim for the money they are owed.

The administrator's report showed the firm owed around £820,000 to the bank as well as a further £23,500 in unpaid wages and holiday pay. However, the November report stated that "it is expected there will be insufficient funds generated from the sale of assets to pay a dividend to unsecured creditors".

S&R Electric had been one of Belfast's most famous retailers, having traded for more than 30 years.

It was set up by Sam Duff and incorporated as a limited company in 1984.

At the time of the administration, the business's founder, Sam Duff snr, told Belfast Telegraph he was confident the store would reopen in the future.

However, a report released in November by accountancy firm BDO, which was appointed as administrator, said it would not be possible to rescue the firm.

Stock owned by S&R Electric has yet to be sold off and remains under the control of the administrator.

The company declined to comment on the latest development.

Belfast Telegraph