Nelson based Buoyant hopes to run with one of Ultra's recent account wins
The chairman of Buoyant Upholstery says he hopes the Lancashire sofa maker can pick up some of the pieces left behind following the closure of Ultra Furniture, the manufacturer with whom it shared an owner in common.


Joel Rosenblatt told The Furnishing Report a new department store account taken on by Ultra in the months before its demise would have likely yielded £3m–£4 million this year in additional sales for the business.

"We were getting to a stage where the business was both trading above break-even and de-risking, with two major new customers coming on stream," he said a in a phone interview.

The decision to close Tesco Direct by Tesco — until then Ultra's sole major customer — thwarted that plan, and would have left the manufacturer needing more funds from its parent company.

Mr Rosenblatt, who chairs Helium Sofa Group (HSM) — parent to both Buoyant and Ultra — said the group would have to write off its seven-figure investment in Ultra after it was placed into administration through Duff & Phelps earlier this summer.

HSG's acquisition of Ultra cost it less than £100,000, but later investment through loans took that figure closer to £3 million.

"We were in a position where we would have able to take some of those loan notes back, but unfortunately Tesco's decision to close Tesco Direct meant Ultra would have been lossmaking again, and we weren't prepared to sink any more cash into the business."

He added that Buoyant would hope to pick up the new business lost by Ultra, with it having moved to acquire the Kingswinford company's IP and designs."

He said he was hopeful that at least one of the two major new accounts — both large retailers with a nationwide store portfolio — could now be supplied by Buoyant instead.

Nelson based Buoyant — for whom md Mike Aramayo has returned to work following a heart attack earlier this year — is looking to recover the circa £1 million it lost in sales as the residual effect of the closed BHS and Cargo business annualised against the latest period. Buoyant made £2.4 million on sales of just under £50 million in 2016–17.

Parent company HSG recorded a £310,000 deficit on group turnover of £55.3 million, including the Ultra business.

Mr Rosenblatt added that Mr Aramayo, who attended the Manchester Furniture Show last month, would build up his schedule slowly in the weeks to come.

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