Bower & Child: One of the oldest businesses in Huddersfield ceases trading after 140 years

Bower & Child, one of the oldest and most widely recognised local business names in Huddersfield, has ceased trading after 140 years.

Synonymous with brands such as AGA, Rangemaster, ESSE and Lacanche, the business supplies, installs and maintains the pinnacle of classic and contemporary cooking ranges as well as multi-fuel heating appliances.

Its current board said the recent pandemic had a significant impact on the company’s business, as lockdowns in the UK and worldwide impacted suppliers’ delivery schedules due in part to supply-chain and logistical issues.

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As a small, family-owned and run business, it became increasingly difficult to manage this situation and the company’s cash flow and turnover were severely reduced.

Bower & Child has ceased trading.

A spokesperson said: "As lockdown measures were relieved and life started to return to normal the backorders with suppliers were released, leading to a relative flurry of pent-up demand that the business struggled to manage within its already weakened cash flow.

"However, the activity was short-lived, and in the Spring of 2022, there was a notable fall away in customer enquiries to far below pre-pandemic levels."

Following consultation with professional advisors, Bower & Child's owners were forced to appreciate that the business was making significant trading losses and running out of working capital.

Ultimately, with a view to minimising the risk to both customers and suppliers, the decision was made to cease trading and put the company into liquidation.

The firm in more successful times.

The Directors said: “It is with very heavy hearts we have had to accept that Bower and Child could not continue trading. The unfortunate events of the last two years have finally taken their toll and eroded all our reserves, meaning the business can no longer sustain its viability.

"Therefore, we are unable to continue trading. We have followed the guidance given to us by our advisers and tried our best to minimise the impact on our valued customers. We would like to thank all our customers, past and present, that have been loyal to us. It is a tragedy that such a long-standing business has had to cease trading in the shadow of these unprecedented times.”

Directors have instructed Charles Brook, a partner at Poppleton & Appleby, Licensed Insolvency Practitioners of Huddersfield to assist in that process.

Creditors or customers with any queries regarding outstanding orders, deposits or payments can contact Poppleton & Appleby on 01484 437432.

In due course there will be an online auction of the Company’s residual stock of cooking ranges, stoves, and fittings, managed on behalf of the proposed Liquidators by Walker Singleton (asset Management) Limited of Huddersfield.

Charles Brook commented: “Bower & Child has a long, proud history in Huddersfield and districts and will be sorely missed by its many loyal customers who will have been on first-name terms with the long-serving fitters and engineers. Many small businesses in the UK are probably only 2-3 months of weak trading away from potential insolvency and, for businesses operating in specialised retail sectors as this company did, it is particularly true following the pandemic.

"Weakened demand and supply chain complications can rapidly lead to cashflow problems and potentially unsustainable trading losses.”