NEXT has bought furniture retailer Made.com after the business filed for administration on Tuesday.
Made, which employs around 600 people, has sold its brand, website and intellectual property to the clothing and homewares retailer.
Made’s operating subsidiary, MDL, was yesterday forced to appoint administrators from specialist firm PwC who immediately tied up the deal with Next.
They did not say whether any jobs will be saved as part of the deal.
It is a sharp downturn for the company, which launched on the London Stock Exchange less than two years ago.
It had a £775 million price tag and promised accelerated growth and to lead the online furniture market.
Thousands of customers face uncertainty over whether they will receive a refund for existing orders.
The Sun has contacted Made.com to find out.
Made chairwoman Susanne Given said: “Having run an extensive process to secure the future of the business, we are deeply disappointed that we have reached this point and how it will affect all our stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers and shareholders.
“We appreciate and deeply regret the frustration that MDL going into administration will have caused for everyone.”
The writing had been on the wall for several days after Made last month abandoned hopes of finding a buyer to save it and inject the cash it needed to stay afloat.
The troubled company filed a notice to appoint administrators last week after being hit by soaring costs and slowing customer demand.
It is understood the company had garnered interest from a number of parties to purchase parts of the business since tipping into insolvency before tying up the deal with Next.
And it is not the first time that retail giant Next has taken over a struggling business.
Next started selling Gap clothing online in late 2021, after it took over the running of the high street brand.
It started selling Gap clothing in stores in early 2022.
It also agreed a sale to buy struggling lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret in a move that saved its UK shops and website.
And earlier this year, it took a stake in baby and maternity clothing retailer JoJo Maman Bebe.
But Made.com customers will be wondering what the sale of the furniture brand means for them.
Made.com had also already halted new orders and said it is currently not offering refunds or accepting returns from customers, although it is still intending to fulfil previous orders.
Customers will need to get in touch on the company’s website, as we’ve noted that the retailer’s phone lines are redirecting customers here.
Lisa Webb, Which? consumer rights expert, warned that customers may be unable to claim a refund, or may not receive items they ordered.
She said: “When a company enters administration, it may not accept the return of items.
“Many customers could find themselves in a situation where items have not been delivered.
“It is always worth trying to claim for a refund in this situation, but customers should know it is not guaranteed.
“The cost of repairs for faulty items could still be claimed if they came with a warranty.
“If you’ve bought something on your credit card costing more than £100, the card provider is jointly responsible for any breaches of contract.
“You can claim under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act if the item is faulty or not delivered.
“If you paid for goods that cost less than £100 on a credit or debit card, you may be able to claim under chargeback.”
The news comes after several major retailers collapsed in recent years.
Corner shop chain McColl’s went bust back in May 2022 leaving 16,000 out of a job and 1,100 stores empty.
Department store, Debenhams went bust back in April 2020 – a move which left 22,000 out of a job.
What if I’ve ordered from Made.com and my item hasn’t arrived?
According to Citizen Advice, if you bought an item from a shop before it closed down, you do not have an automatic right to a refund.
But if you ordered an item and it never arrived there are a number of ways to claw your money back.
Customers should firstly try and get in touch with the company or its appointed administrators and ask for the item purchased or a full cash refund.
How do I request a refund if I can’t get in touch with Made.com?
If you can’t get hold of the company or they fail to respond to your request for a refund, there are still ways to get your money back.
If you paid by credit card
If you paid for the item using a credit card, you’ll be covered by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
This means that if you pay for a big purchase on your credit card and something happens – like the goods aren’t delivered or the shop goes bust – your card provider is just as responsible as the retailer to refund you.
To make a claim, contact your credit card provider – your first port of call should be its customer services phone number – and tell them you want to make a claim under Section 75.
It should then send you a claim form which you can fill-in and your provider will use to process your application.
Your card firm might ask you to provide evidence such as a receipt or a report verifying that the item is faulty.
If you paid by debit card
If you didn’t pay for the item with a credit card – don’t panic. If you paid with a debit card you’ll be covered by chargeback rules.
Chargeback can be used to reclaim cash for goods and services you don’t receive that have been paid for by debit card, or by credit card for purchases under £100.
Claims must be made within 120 days of the transaction and to start a chargeback, you need to contact your card provider.
If you paid using buy now, pay later?
If you paid for an item using a buy now, pay later provider, you’ll need to contact them first to check if they have a process for you to reclaim the cash.
This sector is largely unregulated and it doesn’t offer customers the same protections as those who shop with a credit or debit card.
What if I’ve got a Made.com item – what are my rights
If you have a Made.com item already and you need to enquire about a repair or replacement you may be protected under the Consumer Rights Act.
According to Which?, if you’ve been supplied with faulty goods and the company is placed into administration but still trading – you may still be able to get a replacement.
Make sure to read any warranty or manufacturer guarantees as this could increase the likelihood that you’ll be able to get an item repaired or replaced.
What if I’ve got a Made.com voucher?
You’re unlikely to be able to redeem your vouchers at most chains that go bust.
There’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to get your money back but if you paid for the voucher with your credit or debit card you may be able to claw the amount back through chargeback or Section 75 rules.