The High Court has today approved a petition for the appointment of an interim Examiner to B&Q Ireland, a home improvement and garden centre retailer. A statement on the B&Q website explains:
During the examinership processs, it is anticipated that B&Q Ireland Ltd will continue to trade at all nine stores; all employees will be paid, and all pre-paid goods and services, including kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms and their installation, together with Gift Vouchers and Credit Notes will be honoured. Suppliers will be paid for goods and services supplied during the process. …
What about my credit note or gift voucher?
We are still honouring credit notes and gift vouchers throughout this process. We don’t want our customers to lose out.
Update (12 Feb 2013): the High Court has today confirmed the appointment; and it was confirmed to the court that all vouchers, credit notes and deposits will be honoured by the company throughout the examinership period.
This is a far more satisfactory approach than that taken in the context of HMV (see here, here and here). And the fact that B&Q can take this approach demonstrates that the Examinership process (or Administration, its UK equivalent) does not automatically preclude the company under the protection of the court from honouring vouchers. I hope we have heard that last of that particular canard, but I am not too sanguine that we have.
Bonus (including updates and amendments through 12 Feb): The UK arm of HMV continues to demonstrate how not to handle an Administration; the Guardian and the Independent reported that HMV workers (or at least one of them) took over the official Twitter feed to vent their fury over sackings – there’s an excellent assessment on Forbes. Meantime, the Administrators have made all of the members of the Board, including the CEO, redundant; and they are seeking to do deals with suppliers and landlords, close unviable stores (update (21 Feb 2013): in two waves), and sell off non-core businesses such as nightclubs and other venues.
Update (12 Feb 2013): Meanwhile, the receiver of the Irish arm of HMV has been unable to find buyers for the 16 Irish stores. All of the stores were loss-making, due to online competition (cd and dvd retailers, as well as streaming and download services) and high levels of rent. The shops will not be reopening; the employees, who had been laid off temporarily, will be made redundant; and the chain will be liquidated. This is a sad day for the employees, and a sorry end to a great business.