- Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, an upscale furniture maker and retailer, announced over the weekend that it’s shutting down effective immediately. The company closed down because it was “unable to secure critical financing to continue business operations,” according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act notice filed in North Carolina.
As a result, about 533 employees who work at various company buildings, including a distribution center and its corporate offices, were let go as of Saturday. Overall the company employs about 800, according to The Washington Post.
- Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams also lists nearly 30 retail stores, a handful of outlet locations and about 40 virtual store locations in the U.S. and Canada on its website; the stores will presumably close as the retailer halts operations, but it's unclear when.
When forced into lockdown mode by the pandemic, people spent freely to make their homes more comfortable and functional. But in the post-pandemic world, consumer demand for furniture has fallen as people face sustained economic pressure. Instead, they are spending more on essentials versus discretionary items like furniture.
Established in 1989, founders Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams started the business with 23 people in Taylorsville, North Carolina. The company’s offerings include outdoor, living room, bedroom, dining and home decor products.
Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams interim CEO Chris Moye, who began leading the company in April, told North Carolina state officials in a letter dated Saturday that it “recently and unexpectedly learned” it didn’t have enough money to sustain business operations.
“In particular, and as you may have read in the news, the current economic climate has presented significant challenges to the U.S. furniture industry,” Moye said in a WARN letter. In the letter, Moye describes the revelation of the company’s financial issues as “unforeseen.”
“This has been an extremely difficult decision, as it means the loss of many dedicated and valued employees,” Moye said. The company did not immediately respond to questions from Retail Dive on Wednesday asking how much financing was needed to keep operating or if the company could resume operations if financing is secured in the future.
Private equity firm The Stephens Group acquired the company in 2014 under undisclosed financial terms. Gold, the founder and CEO at the time, said the deal would enable the company to expand into new markets and expand its retail and multichannel presence.
On Tuesday, the private equity firm told Retail Dive in an email that it had recently invested $20 million in Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams “ to restructure the company to support its operations and set the business up for success moving forward.”
“Unfortunately, shortly after this restructuring, the company’s lender withdrew its support, forcing Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams to cease operations,” the firm said in a written statement. “The Stephens Group knows that the company has done the best it could in a very challenging situation and empathizes with all those who are impacted.”