Manns of Cranleigh is likely to close its doors next month for the final time, following 134 years in business.
David Mann opened David Manns & Sons in 1887, the same year as Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee.
The Mann family originally lived above the shop, but their home was turned into furniture showrooms and the garden into stores as trade flourished. The neighbouring cottage was also incorporated.
A comprehensive brand transformation took place in 2012 in response to the fast-changing consumer climate during the recession.
Manns transformed the historic cottage part of the building in December 2015 to become M Cafe.
Manns is one of the few surviving independent department stores in the country, with 40,000 square feet of retail space offering interiors, furniture, beds, flooring, curtains, home accessories, fashion, cookware, linens, gifts, luggage and a toy shop.
A Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) took effect in December 2020, with creditors agreeing to allow the insolvent business to continue trading while repaying its debts over a fixed period.
The latest accounts for David Mann & Sons Ltd show more than 40 employees within the business.
In its latest published accounts, the accountants explain that forecasts prepared as part of the CVA showed the company could trade at a profit and have sufficient cash for 18 months until the property sale is concluded.
However, the country then entered a third lockdown, and the store was forced to close its doors once again.
While some trade continued online, and the business used the coronavirus job retention scheme and government grants, the directors remained confident at the time of having sufficient cash to get through the lockdown, and trade would bounce back on reopening.
A buyer is being sought for the business, but the staff have been placed on notice, and the business will close next month unless a rescue package materialises.
A spokesperson for Manns of Cranleigh said:
Bricks & Mortar retail is a very challenging market right now and Manns of Cranleigh has been wrestling with the cost of a high street site of just over an acre in size coupled with online and out of town competition for some time now.
COVID hasn’t helped, and as we come out of lockdowns consumer habits have changed and as such our Managing Director, Mr. Richard Womack, has chosen to close the store and retire after 34 years at the store.
We are currently in consultation with the whole staff team but should an alternate plan not be received then Manns of Cranleigh will close its doors one final time at the end of September 2021.
We would like to thank the good folk of Cranleigh and the surrounding districts who have supported Manns for over 130 years. Many current customers have been customers for four or five generations and please know that we will continue delivering your goods until the last order is closed out and we are committed to fulfilling all our customer orders.
A final thank you goes to the staff team and our investor, Mr N Vrijland who without their support over many years we wouldn’t have made it this far – it really is greatly appreciated, thank you.
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