Analysis: High class independent furniture store retailer Vokins is closing with the lack of a suitable replacement location among the reasons.

The privately owned firm is the largest of its type in the Hove and Brighton area, trading from 22,000sqft premises including a 10,000sqft mezzanine at the Sackville Trading Estate.

It will hand the keys back to the landlord by 31st March, with longstanding plans afoot by the property owner to redevelop the trading estate where the showrooms are located.

Vokins’ David Vokins told the Furnishing Report that it was “bordering on impossible” to find a similar mid-town or edge-of-town site comparable to its existing premises.

He added that the pressure on real estate in the area it operated was extreme, and that once rents got into the region of £25–£30sqft you would be effectively working for the landlord, rather than being in a position where you would be able to generate enough profit.

He also said that landlords — many of which were large pension funds — were reluctant to let premises to independent furniture store retailers in today’s environment. He pointed to the dearth of out-of-town furniture stores run by independent companies across — not just the local area — but the whole of the UK, as evidence.

“We struggled to think of any within a forty to fifty mile radius,” he said.