Charleston bedroom suite

 

The Charleston is a beautiful, elegant, high quality bedroom suite from Courts Jamaica.  The spirit of Courts is alive and well in the Caribbean, and this is a great example of how the good name of Courts Furniture lives on, even though the original parent company is long gone.

Courts PLC goes into administration in 2003

In December 2003 Courts PLC breached a number of banking covenants. PWC were appointed by a banking syndicate to safeguard its debts.

On Monday, 29 November, 2004 shares in Courts plc were suspended at 13.5p and the company went into administration with debts of £280 million, following a drop in UK sales and serious damage caused by Hurricane Ivan to stores in its Caribbean arm.

PWC earned record fees for both the pre-administration and post-administration work.

The administration caused public controversy because the sudden store closures had seen thousands of customers left out-of-pocket and without the furniture they had ordered and deposits they had paid. A number of outlets were besieged and in some cases seriously damaged by hordes of angry customers.

SB Capital, owners of Furnitureland, acquired the largest number of branches. Today all branches of Courts in the United Kingdom have been sold off or closed down but there continues to be a presence in the Caribbean and Asia.

Courts Furniture – an overview

Courts was one of the leading furniture retailers in Britain and also had stores in the Caribbean and in Asia.  Founded in 1850, Courts provided furniture to British homes for many years before going into administration in 2003.

Until the late 1990s Courts had also sold electrical goods. It was known for an advertising campaign in the 1980s and 1990s that featured popular British entertainer Bruce Forsyth dressed as a judge; adverts that contained the slogan “I’ll see you in Courts!”

This concept was later dropped, and was followed up with a campaign using a singer singing the “Courts you can” song instead.

Courts had 350 stores worldwide with 100 in the United Kingdom which were mostly located in retail parks with some on high streets.  The sudden descent into administration left many furious customers failing to receive goods they had already paid for.

Courts Furniture timeline

  • 1850 – Courts founded in Canterbury, England, by William Henry Court
  • 1945 – Courts sold to the Cohen brothers who began to expand the business
  • 1946 – Courts introduced hire purchase terms
  • 1959 – First overseas Courts store opened in Kingston, Jamaica
  • 1959 – Courts listed on London Stock Exchange. By this stage Courts had 34 retail stores in the UK
  • 1965 – Courts opened first store in Barbados and diversified product range to include electricals
  • 1969 – Courts Jamaica listed on local stock exchange
  • 1971 – Courts entry into the Pacific Ocean (Fiji) and Singapore
  • 1978 – Courts Barbados listed on local stock exchange
  • 2003 – Courts PLC goes into administration
  • 2006 (December) – Regal Forest Holdings Limited, a retailer of El Salvador assumed ownership of the 11 Caribbean businesses formerly owned by Courts PLC.